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Should Monday be fun?

After a fun weekend with the family, some Mondays are a real shock to the system. So the question is how can you motivate a someone to give work their all?

More companies are contemplating this question -- even in these tough economic times. Apparently, layoffs in many industries have decimated companies and morale. Employers need those of us still employed to perform like superstars.

Syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary writes about a book urging laughter in the workplace. The authors of The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up, provide 142 tips on how to have fun at work. They encourage companies to use humor in their emails and corporate meetings. Says Singletary: "Employees not losing their jobs need something to lighten their spirits."

As parents, we learn that humor helps when raising kids. So I guess it should be obvious that in the workplace, when we're laughing, we're listening -- to our bosses, our co-workers, our customers. Year after year, the Great Place to Work Institute find that companies on Fortune's 100 Best Companies score high when employees are asked: "Is this a fun place to work?"

One Weston company on that Fortune list of Best Places to Work, Ultimate Software of Weston, FL, found a way to put some fun back into the 9 to 5. The company, a provider of human resources and payroll,  has a custom-built basketball court in the atrium. Employee recognition comes in the form of MVP jerseys.

   There's a good argument that keeping people happy, showing them a good time at work, makes them perform. But there are lots of employers who disagree and believe fun is something you have when you are off the clock. What are your thoughts on this? Should work be fun? Should employers focus on making money and leave "fun" for the weekends?

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JOEL GOODMAN

I ran a large company (sales of $100 Million annually) for many years. My philosophy was a simple one. Treat all employees equally and pay them very well. If they do a very good to excellent job, allow them to come to work tomorrow. If not----------------bye, bye---it's a business, not a nursery school or a place for your personal therapy. Grow up and maybe Mondays won't be so hard to handle.

Jessica

Like everything, there's a balance to strike. The workplace should at least be pleasant - I'd rather not spend 40 plus hours in an environment that makes me (metaphorically) want to blow my brains out. Sounds like Joel needs to wake up and realize that many valuable employees won't stick around if he has that attitude. Then again, in this current economy people will put up with almost anything to keep their job. Even lousy attitudes and atmospheres. A light hearted environment helps everyone get through the workday.

Andrea

I'm an English teacher for executives and sometimes it seems that the mood of the students are related to their level of tolerance, how they can interpret things by different ways. Teaching English with jokes improve the students' fluency of reading because they get specially curious about the punch line. In addition, telling jokes is a good way to socialize, to understand a culture and its values as well.
Now, everything must have its right moment, so they don't lose the focus.

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