Fun or Not?

Do you work in a ‘fun’ environment? Say, for example, at a firm “… whose reception area boasts beaten-up sofas, a fridge full of beer, a table football and loud rock music on the stereo.” If so, you may be interested in a recent exploratory study by Professor Christopher John Baldry BSc. (Soc.Sci.), MSc., PhD. FRSA of the Working Lives Research Group at Stirling Institute for Socio-Management, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, Scotland, who points out that –

“…the fun environment will often give rise to fragmentations between workers’ social identities and management priorities.”

The paper, co-authored with colleague Dr. Jerry Hallier, reminds Human Resource Management (HRM) practitioners that although they might have “…started to see the built working environment as a component in managing organizational culture and employee commitment.“ there are still potential pitfalls when considering Quality of Working Life (QWL) evaluations.
Even at a company such as Google Inc. where workers have easy access to
● Bicycles or scooters for efficient travel between meetings; dogs; lava lamps; massage chairs; large inflatable balls.
And where it’s possible to see
● Googlers sharing cubes, yurts and huddle rooms – and very few solo offices
(all of which might go some way to stimulating “The Inner-Child”)

“Nevertheless we may be confident that what even the wackiest of work surroundings cannot do, despite the managerial hopes  placed in it, is disguise, blank or ameliorate the daily reality of an essentially alienated labour process.”

See : Welcome to the House of Fun: Work Space and Social Identity in the journal Economic and Industrial Democracy February 2010,  vol. 31,  no. 1, pp  150-172.