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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is the Economy Keeping Folks at their Desks?

Myself and my team had a chat today about employee participation in company fun. You see, we are a very fun oriented organization and we like to do a lot of events, happy hours, games during the workday, etc. but participation seems to be declining lately.

Where is everyone? Are they concerned about having fun in today's economic environment?

Any ideas? Have any of you had similar experiences in your organizations since the economy tanked?


Rob Pitingolo said...

Angelique, great topic.

I want to guess that there might be two different factors at play. In the first case, people like to find something to celebrate when their company is doing well. Profits are up, departments are growing, bonuses are getting handed out, and people feel justified in having fun at the office… Anything can be turned into a celebration: birthdays, anniversaries, closed deals, promotions, etc. When the company isn’t doing as well (or even when employees perceive it that way), they just don’t feel like there is quite as much to celebrate. It’s harder to feel like having fun if profits or sales or any other performance metric doesn’t show any improvement.

In the second case, people might be reluctant to have as much fun at work because they perceive it as taking away from work they could otherwise be doing. They certainly don’t want the company to hurt more than it has to – and in the event that things do turn south, they don’t want to be the ones to lose their jobs because they didn’t work hard enough during the slump.

Of course, that still doesn’t explain why attendance at after-work events or happy hours might be down… and it certainly is disappointing news for those who value having fun in the workplace and with co-workers!

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