4 ways to make work fun

Alexandra Samuel
4 min readApr 10, 2024
I had fun creating this image in Ideogram, an AI image-generation app that can actually deliver legible text.

So many of us now spend big portions of our working lives at home, but we’ve brought the office home with us — including a whole lot of outdated ideas about what’s professional or what work is supposed to look or feel like.

But there is nothing unprofessional about having fun at work — whether you are working at home, or at an office! Here’s how to bring more fun into your daily working life, so that work becomes a way you renew your energy as well as a way you expend it.

Play with your colleagues.

You can make meetings fun without making them longer. Forgo the background blur and let your colleagues see you in your natural habitat, so they can comment on your quirky collectibles. Get yourself a word of the day calendar and challenge yourself to work it into conversation. Make room for a quip about something funny in a report or dataset. It’s all about letting go of the idea that being “professional” means turning off your personality, and instead engaging with the same joy and spontaneity you’d bring to a conversation with friends.

Tune into your brain.

Yes, it’s great to do work that feels meaningful or aligns with your purpose on this earth, but it is also great to do work that just feels delightful! When you notice which tasks and challenges make you feel happy, energized or simply blissed-out, you can nudge your work towards the types of roles and projects that let you spend some of each day in your happy place. As I confessed in this video last week, that’s how I ended up doing data journalism work: I discovered that messing around in spreadsheets makes my brain feel good.

The best way to find your bliss is to conduct periodic body scans throughout the day (you can even set a reminder to prompt you to scan yourself every few hours): What are you doing when you feel itchy, or relaxed, or elated? Keep track for a week or two until the scanning habit becomes ingrained, and you start noticing whenever a task has made you feel particularly great (or lousy). Then use that knowledge to shape what projects and roles to pursue — because how your work makes you feel is an absolutely legitimate basis for deciding how you want to shape your career.

Revel in your tech.

Many of us spend more hours touching our laptops or phones than we spend in our beds or snuggling with the people we love…so all those hands-on-device minutes need to fill our hearts with joy, at least occasionally.

You could just slap an Ansel Adams photo on your desktop background and call it a day, but think about where else you can infuse some delight into your interfaces — whether that means updating the color scheme of your usual web browser to match the colors of your favorite sports team, or picking a new mouse or phone case because you like how the texture or shape feels in your hand.

Get creative with AI.

If it’s hard to let your hair down when you’re working with human colleagues, you can practice with AI. Claude, ChatGPT and Gemini will interact in whatever way you want, so you can transform the experience of working with AI by giving it an instruction as minimal as “give me feedback as if we are pals.” As I wrote in my Wall Street Journal article about the merits of treating ChatGPT like a colleague, approaching an AI in riffing mode is a great way to get your own creative juices flowing. You don’t have to limit that creativity to writing and data work, either: Whip up a quick image in Ideogram to convey a crucial point or let a colleague know you’re thinking of them.

Spread the fun.

I don’t just try to make my own work fun: I like to bring a spirit of playfulness to most of my online and in-person interactions. I have traded parenting tips with Verizon customer care reps, shared recipes with grocery clerks and nerded out over storage strategies on a computer helpline. Once in a blue moon I am someone’s worst nightmare, but 19 times out of 20 I hear that I’m the most fun call or customer of the day.

Bringing more fun into other people’s workdays has helped me see fun as a natural and appropriate part of my own working life. Just imagine how much more fun all our jobs would be if we all aimed to make work fun for one another.



Alexandra Samuel

Speaker on hybrid & remote work. Author, Remote Inc. Contributor to Wall Street Journal & Harvard Business Review. https://AlexandraSamuel.com/newsletter