Why having fun at work is a good idea

You may have heard that Sempre recently turned 5, which prompted me to reflect on our growth over the past few years and what has made us, well, us.

Two recent Sempre events have really brought this reflection into focus. And it seems that the essence of Sempre largely boils down to something quite simple: having fun. 

The first event was Sempre’s 5th Birthday party, an invite only shindig at PURL cocktail bar in London to say thank you to our customers for their support and advocacy over the years.

The second occasion was the Sempre Annual Away Day in July, which this year was hosted by the fantastic city of Lisbon.

Lisbon was a great chance to catch up with the team who've been scattered across the country working with our customers, and a chance to reflect on what we’ve all learnt and look at how we can use it to make us smarter.  Most importantly, it's a chance to build our friendships and get to know those who have recently joined - and to enjoy a beer somewhere that actually has a summer.

These are just some examples of things we do as a team, either with or without our customers.

Why do we do this? 

Why such an emphasis on fun?

We do this because we want to build a great business.  A business where our brand cannot be copied, or the service replicated. A business where the staff love coming to work, and the customers love working with us. Simon Sinek offers a great insight into “Why”, and if you’ve not watched his TED talk you can see it here.

For us this means our business must be driven forwards by a great team, not from the desk of a board member, but by the whole team.  By those in front of customers, those innovating for us, those managing the increasingly complex operations of a growing company and those enjoying our success and feeling the pain in equal measure.

​But to have buy in to a common vision and a journey of growth, we need everyone in the team to know how to work together, to want to work together and to be trusted to do so.  Which brings me back to the reflection on the fun we’ve had this year.

Having fun has become a big part of who we are. Don’t get me wrong: we take our work very seriously, but having fun has created a culture of togetherness. It means we care for each other and so we treat each other like family. This positivity feeds into our business relationships and in turn we become friends with our customers - we genuinely care about their success.  The result? We become much greater than the sum of our parts, we’re a truly high performing team, with an unbreakable bond.

And it means we don’t just provide a service or a product, we provide an experience. 

This isn't meant to be a sales pitch, simply a reminder that in times of uncertainty, the focus does not have to solely centre on P&L and Shareholder value.  Having fun doesn’t have to cost much relative to the rest of the P&L expense lines, but can have a tremendous impact on talent retention and attraction, not to mention the impact on motivation and brand recognition.

If your team is happy and engaged, you can be pretty sure your customers are too.  And we all know the value of a happy customer to a business.

It’s a simplistic view, but it’s one that works for us. We’re now building for the next 5 years of growth with these themes at the forefront of how we achieve, so we can ensure that the Sempre experience remains the same, if not better.

I, for one, would be interested in hearing what fun things your business does.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.  You can find out more about Sempre on LinkedIn and Twitter.