Merge's Blog

If it’s fun, will people do it?

The hypothesis: if it’s fun, people will do it.

Experiment #1: most people know that it’s better for your health to climb the stairs rather than take the escalator or the elevator.  Yet only a few people actually follow that advice.  Is it possible to get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do.

Find out for yourself in this short video clip

Experiment #2: even though a rubbish bin may be in clear sight, many people still don’t throw their litter in the bin.  By making it fun to do, is there a way to get more people to throw their trash into the bin rather than onto the ground?

See the results here in this short video clip

These two social experiments demonstrate that it IS possible to persuade people to do what you want IF you can make the task or job more fun.  So, what does that mean for your workplace?  If you are a manager or supervisor, no doubt there are certain activities in your department that everyone hates doing … in fact, you might think that getting them done is akin to pulling teeth!  Is there a way to make those responsibilities more fun?  One manager at a client company told me that he had a lot of trouble getting his field reps to attend the mandated twice-yearly safety meetings that were required by industry legislation.  That was until a new trainer came on board.  Suddenly, not only were his employees attending the meetings without complaint, but they were also talking positively about the sessions.  The big difference: the new trainer had turned the safety meetings into a series of Jeopardy games, and what was previously a tedious task was now fun!

What are you doing in your workplace (or what could you do?) to bring the same sense of fun and excitement to an activity that people normally resist or dislike doing?  I’d love to hear from you.


  • I had an issue with our locations sending in their paperwork timely so I had them compete for a can of spam. It was a hit because were I worked they were very competitive and enjoyed competing for “something” even for a can of spam.

  • I love it A! You’re right, it wasn’t the prize itself, it was the fun involved in the competition. Kudos to you for figuring out a creative way to get things accomplished!

  • I facilitated a Powerful Play Experiences workshop with a business client who wanted the staff to be more engaged together as people first, at his workplace. As a result of a series of playful activities at a team building workshop, we created a “Pledge Banner” and people wrote down 1 action that they would do back at work. The “Pledge Banner” was posted in the office for all to see, and so people began taking action on their actions.

  • Robert, thanks for sharing! Isn’t it amazing how having fun leads to articulating goals and then taking action?


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