Stop Trying to 'Make Work Fun'

Author: Attempting to impose happiness does more harm than good
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2013 12:04 PM CST
Stop Trying to 'Make Work Fun'

The modern workplace is in the midst of what might be called a "Fun at Work" movement, and author Oliver Burkeman sincerely hopes it's a passing fad. If your company has a Chief Fun Officer or a Happiness Engineer, he pities you. Worse, companies might be doing more harm than good in trying to impose blanket happiness on their employees, writes Burkeman in the New York Times. He cites studies showing that people get stressed out when they feel pressure to keep up a sunny disposition no matter what.

It's not that happiness at work is bad, of course, it's just the misguided idea of mandating it that troubles Burkeman. "Instead of striving to make work fun, managers should concentrate on creating the conditions in which a variety of personality types, from the excitable to the naturally downbeat, can flourish," he writes. His parting advice: If your title happens to be "Vice President of Wow" or something similar, "please skip the next company paintballing weekend, and use the time to ask yourself a few tough questions instead." Click to read Burkeman's full column. (Read more positive thinking stories.)

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