In an article for Forbes, Liz Ryan gives a helicopter overview of the shift in thinking that has led businesses to realize that employees should be treated like humans and not robots. Basically, it has become understood that too much “crusty bureaucracy” gets in the way of people passionately pursuing their work, and so a lighter environment that incentivizes individuals will produce better work. For instance, Ryan’s rule is: “if you can’t explain how you get paid within the first ten seconds of waking up in the morning, your compensation plan is too complicated.” If there is already a culture of trust in the company, then office contests and day trips can enhance the fun. If trust is lacking, then Ryan says to absolutely avoid “fake” fun events, since it will come across more as half-hearted lip service than a good use of time. Managers need to take the pulse of the employees to determine if they are feeling suitably jolly. Adjust as necessary.
You can read the full article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2014/08/18/how-to-have-fun-at-work/