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How To Make Your Work, Not Feel Like Work 

It makes a difference when you bring fun into your content and delivery. More than anything else, it’s what people need.

Whatever you produce, ultimately you are talking or reaching out to another person. Even if there is a professional slant to it, you’ll get a lot more back if someone else enjoys their time with you, rather than delivering on a strict B2B diet of distance, jargon and seriousness.

If your overall message has a practical and rational tone to it, you still have room to play. 

Others need to see the fun you bring into your work. From a blog to a newsletter, to a video to an online or offline event, it all matters. That way people feel they are in the right place and they are more likely to stay with you for the long term. 

Why Do We Need To Heighten The Fun & Play?

Engagement matters, but it is also important to be engaging.

Your work has to benefit others. It could be your stamp and viewpoint within an industry or framing a business message with a burst of energy. It has to be something that people cannot get anywhere else. 

If your work, feels like work ie. it’s long-winded, lacks emotion, it sounds complicated, then you will forever sit in the middle. This is what people and businesses have done for generations. It’s a way to fit in and be seen, by anyone! Creating content in a B2B space that has a matter-of-fact, dry, serious tone to it can create the perception of a dependable company to do business with. Alternatively, people like things they don’t get somewhere else and that can be impetuous for people and businesses to stand out. 

Let’s start to put things into the context of today’s world where something that feels fun and welcoming is becoming our last hope.

Proof That We Need To Bring Joy 

Here are two underlying themes that make it even more apparent to bring personality and fun into your work.

Trust and loneliness take centre stage.

Trust:

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer regularly paints a picture of who we turn to and who we believe. The latest report highlights that the UK is 11 points below the global average when it comes to trust in business. This puts the UK only just ahead of Russia, Japan and South Korea. Looking it another way, if trust is so low in the UK, it provides the opportunity for businesses to present a warmer and grounded approach to how they present themselves. If content produced has a sense of connection and others can recognise this, it can open up new opportunities. 

Where many of us operate, it is a barrage of similar-sounding voices looking to get attention from as many people as they can. This is what many get sucked in.  

Loneliness:

The recent two-year milestone from the start of the pandemic highlighted that three in ten people said they now feel lonelier (from a survey of 1229 adults). Young adults suffered the most and almost half of adults see their friends and family less and spend more time at home than they used to. 

It’s ok to spend a lot of the day on video calls and attend events online, but when you say goodbye at the end, it’s just you in a room. If people feel disconnected or isolated there have to be ways to encourage participation and involvement. This is why the fun element of ‘work’ has its place today, more so than ever. 

Testing It Out & Finding Answers

You Are The Media has always taken an approach of a live lab in plain sight of everyone, so people can see what works (and even flops). One thing we don’t want to become is comfortable. We all need to be pushing ourselves and each other, otherwise work becomes formulaic. 

Making work not feel like work is something we recently experimented with (31st March). It was the YATM Game Nite at the pub that saved us when the electricity went in the theatre for the last YATM Online Offline of 2021. 

It was the idea of Liam Toms to play games and make the most of an old vinyl record player at 10theSnug. It included rounds for everyone to play on their phone via Mentimeter and then individual rounds with others from the YATM community stepping up. When the board games came out this was a huge way for people who may not be familiar with others, to get to know a little better. 

You could call it networking, it was framed completely differently where the focus was on being around others and enjoying time together. There was no business talk, no topic-centred Q&As, no one was was forced to tell others about their companies, it was an evening out with people who aren’t your family or closest friends.

It was an amazing feeling to be out with others and where there was an attachment to something (You Are The Media) so it became the bond ie. ‘I’m part of this too’. As Lee Taylor commented (read here), “We don’t always have to be ‘on’. Everyone should be aspiring to find their place.” 

How Can You Create Work That Doesn’t Always Feel Like Work?

Understanding the responsibility you have for others means you tune into the people with you to deliver work that is enjoyable. 

Here is some guidance to think about when it comes to ramping up the fun element in your work.


Find Two Separate Strands

This is where your work is based around a central message, but there are separate spaces based on doing and play. For instance, the learning side of YATM is centred around live events such as the YATM Creator Day, and even the weekly newsletter. The playful side is what we have just delivered for YATM Game Nite, but it could be any social occasion where there is no agenda or topic. Create separate spaces with a distinct feel but are both connected around a central cause or belief system. 

Don’t Accept What Has Always Been Done As The Norm 

The pandemic threw everything up in the air and made us recognise that we don’t have to run to what we have always done ie. formulaic networking events. We don’t have to go back to the way that things were. Even if distance was dictated to us and Zoom/Teams became the norm and then we realised we could scale (more people deciding to come on board when geography does not limit us), it doesn’t mean that we have to stand still. Are there ways to bring people together or add to what has already been created that lets people lean in more?

Produce Something Relatable

This is when people know they are in the right place and more importantly feel a part of what you do. When someone feels at home, it allows you to start to open up as the decisions you make will be supported, as the trust has already been cemented. For instance, it is important to know that others are seen and they are recognised and not just a number on a Google Analytics page. We start the weekly YATM newsletter with someone else from the community introducing and saying hello. A rising tide does lift all boats!

It’s Long Term Rapport Not Short Term Conversion That Matters

The ability to reach out to others and get to know them is part of the fun. When you start to know someone, you become familiar and friendships can happen. This is completely different from producing work where it is a lead generation exercise. It does take time but the more effort you put in to know people, the more likely they are going to stay with you for the future. What happens is that personalities become genuine and not a business facade to validate importance. Recognise how you can get to know people better and do something different but still worthwhile.

You’ve Got To Keep Testing

The only way to deliver work that encourages fun and play is to keep experimenting. You won’t get it right on your first (or second) go, but if you have people with you, you can make iterations to deliver something better than originally thought. For instance, when we started the YATM Online Offline in July 2021 it was raw and so much didn’t feel right, with the right add ons and tweaks it is now in a much slicker place for people to get involved. Remember, testing means doing something new and uncomfortable, even bringing your quirks to the table matters. 


Let’s Round-Up

Doing work that doesn’t always feel like work, is how people become compelled to join in and find out more. It’s how you put your own flag in the sand and welcome those around you with a different twist.

Everything you create and deliver is intended to attract people who find something they can’t get elsewhere. A grounded central message is important but if you can add those elements of playfulness, you raise the bar for everyone.

Bringing fun into your work can elevate what you do. It’s time to step up, create and make others feel a part of the experience. We all need it.


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