How Hybrid Leaders Make Teamwork Fun

teamwork fun Team Anywhere Leadership Podcast Episode 63
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The difference between a good company and a great company…. is fun. Fun is the number one factor between the companies that made the 100 Best Companies to Work For list and those that didn’t. In the companies that made the list, 82% of the employees said that they have fun at work. Alternately, that number was closer to 60% for those companies that didn’t quite make the cut. 

Today on the podcast, we have Dr. Bob Nelson and Mario Tamayo, authors of Work Made Fun Gets Done. Dr. Nelson and Mario Tamayo share tips for how to make your team and your organization less dull and more engaging. To lead a vibrant hybrid or virtual organization, one of the best things you can do is find out what your team members need for their own work to be fun.  

Why Fun at Work Matters

Even if we do our best to avoid it, today we are constantly bombarded with negative news. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to combat that negativity that your employees are facing. Many leaders higher up in the organization can have the misperception that fun is a waste of time and money, and is an impediment to business outcomes. But these leaders are highly mistaken. 

Especially since the pandemic, our work lives and home lives have never been so intertwined before. The leaders that deeply understand how their employees are balancing work and home life, also understand the value that fun plays in establishing the right mood for work. Leaders today need to understand that with this new hybrid work, it doesn’t matter where employees are located. Rather, what matters is incorporating fun into the work process from where you are. 

Dr. Bob Nelson and Mario Tamayo recommend that leaders and team members bring the proper data to their executives to discuss the results of having more fun at work. They explain that it’s important to speak the language of your executives and discuss the impact fun has on recruitment, retention, healthcare, and cost savings.

Recent research conducted by Dr. Nelson included looking at whether the work location of employees mattered in relation to their levels of work pride and organizational pride. (See The results proved that there was no significant difference between where people worked and their level of work and organizational pride. This supported the notion that you don’t have to “go into the office” to get the company culture. In fact, the data showed that remote employees actually had slightly more pride than those who worked in the office. This could be in part because their organization trusts them to have the flexibility to manage work within the context of their own life. 

Ideas and Games for Fun at Work

Fun has to be a practice, not a random event. Leaders and teams must be consistent in incorporating fun into their day-to-day work. Consider fun committees or VP’s of fun. 


Telling Jokes

Assign one person per meeting to share a good joke. Open up with Dad jokes (or any other such theme). Ask each person to come to the meeting with a dad joke or assign one person per meeting.

Leverage Standing meetings for praise, recognition and fun. 

In the opening of the meeting, start with five things that are going well.

Praise Barrage

In the opening of the meeting, pick one person and ask everyone else to take turns sharing what they value about working with this person. Make sure to hit every person in the meeting. 10 minutes later, everyone has received positive feedback about themselves, as seen in the eyes of those who they work with. There are two benefits:  first, they will feel glad to be part of that team; second, they will do more of the things that were called out. Additionally, you just inserted a simple fun activity that only took a couple of minutes.

At the end of a meeting, ask your managers to share one thing they have done to recognize someone on their team since your last meeting.

Fun Events


Rent a limo with an Elvis impersonator as a driver for a Day at DisneyLand to celebrate

Hire a Virtual Magician

Art Gallery

Ask each person to pick out one of their favorite pieces of art (paintings, sculptures, photographs) and recreate that artwork using household items. Spend time sharing each person’s work and learn about why they like that piece of art. 

“Palentology Workshop”

Shut down your department with a sign saying “off to a paleontology workshop.” Go see Jurassic Park. (Or any other movie and it’s industry’s “workshop”) 

About Dr. Bob Nelson

Considered the world’s leading authority on employee recognition & engagement and President of Nelson Motivation Inc., a management training/consulting company specializing in helping organizations improve their management practices, programs & systems. He’s worked with 80% of Fortune 500 as a Strategist for HR Issues. Has been a long-time collaborator & confidant for Dr. Ken Blanchard, “The One Minute Manager,” and is currently a personal coach for Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s #1-ranked executive coach.

About Mario Tamayo, Performance Consultant

Mario Tamayo is a Principal of the Tamayo Group, Inc., a no-nonsense, no-frills consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational performance. TGI is widely known for using practical strategies that get positive results.

With extensive experience in the human performance and organization development field, Mario has been training, coaching, and consulting with individuals and teams in leadership and communication skills since the late 1970s. He also specializes in preparing and coaching individuals for high-impact speaking events. Mario’s new book, Work Made Fun Gets Done!, will be released this May (2021).

To learn more about making teamwork fun, download this episode now.

Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability

Fun Teamwork Quotes:

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