Work is a very serious thing at any time. It's how most of us support the other areas of our life.
With the job market tight and pressure on to make more with less , the workplace is a demanding environment.
We all spend a large chunk of our week at work so how can we make it a happier place to be?
This is just as important for the organisation as it is for the staff. A happy workplace is more productive, loses less time to sickness, is more likely to solve problems quickly.
A lot of unhappiness centres on communication. All of us have times when we can't say what we want. We put barriers in our own way and at times that's a very good thing. That little brake in our head that stops us saying what we are thinking at that second has probably saved lives as well as jobs and relationships.
But at work we sometimes have to say things that may not be well received no matter how diplomatic we are. We don't always distinguish clearly between the fact that lovely though we are, we are at work, paid to do a job. Not everything is personal or about us. Yet because we take ownership of our role for most of us our work is extremely personal. Any comment on what we do is a comment about us.
Organisations spend a lot of time money and effort on promoting good communication. This is a very serious matter indeed. But does the way we do this have to be so serious?
I'm always amazed that teams go away to try and build relationships. They won't be working at a resort in a room at a high level of intensity, or on an assault course.
Why not use the surroundings they will have to work in but make that more fun?
The methods taken from Drama Therapy are just as effective in the corporate and government fields
The puppets in the picture have been an amazing resource for getting people to talk. Someone who is uneasy speaking in a group turns into a lead orator with one of the puppets as his or her mouthpiece. The puppets get away with saying outrageous things and give everyone a laugh.
People who have enjoyed each others' company, not felt threatened will form much more effective working relationships. They will be more comfortable knowing that any impressions their colleagues have of them were at least partially formed in a happy, relaxed place.
No matter how this is approached, having fun is important for us all.
Watching a team that can barely talk to one another except via e mail learn to enjoy and respect each other is a great experience. Watching a new team come together having fun and building positive links is even better.
Whatever you are doing, have a think about having more fun at work. Being a professional, being a high achiever doesn't mean being a misery. So many people feel that some one is pulling their strings.
When in doubt, let a puppet do the talking for you.