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Why fun is crucial to business success

In 2023, face-to-face team building is enjoyable. Let’s face it: in-person networking and relationship-building are better.

When we think of the office, the last word that springs to mind is ‘fun’. TGIF (thank goodness it’s Friday) says it all. Fun is after hours, fun is hanging out with friends and family, not colleagues.

How wrong we are. Fun is, in fact, crucial to business success. Best-selling author Bob Nelson, lays it out in his book Work Made Fun Gets Done. Going off the 100 Best Places to Work list compiled by Great Place to Work® that gets published yearly in Fortune magazine, Nelson states that a whopping “eighty-one percent of employees at companies ranked as “great” described their office environments as fun”.

But what is fun? Catherine Price, author of The Power of Fun defines it as the meeting point of playfulness, connection and flow. Playfulness doesn’t mean running around a playground — although if that is your outlet, you do you — it’s about a spirit of lightheartedness, of not taking everything too seriously.

Often people associate work with being serious but fun actually increases productivity, creativity and innovation. Through shared experiences — the connection part of Price’s definition — we can build better relationships with our colleagues. Flow is about being completely present, in a place where distractions, read phones, can’t even grab our attention.

When you are engrossed in a task, enjoying it and sharing it with other people in a space of playfulness, you are having fun.

We can bring fun into the workplace through small “micro-moments sprinkled throughout the day, like a conversation with a colleague where you both share a laugh”, as Price describes it, or by planning exciting activities with the team.

Remember to involve the team when planning your team-building activities and getaways. Anette Pizag, a workplace strategist, business coach and author, makes a great point — “One person’s work fun is another person’s work hell”. It is important to check in with your colleagues and your company culture when considering the best ways to have fun.For some inspiration, we have collated a range of team-building activities from BON Hotels offerings at their Rustenberg, Bloemfontein, Empangeni, Kruger National Park and Richards Bay hotels.

BON Hotel Rustenburg

A two-hour drive from Johannesburg, BON Hotel Rustenburg is set in gardens that are visited by birds, antelope and Zebra.

Types of activities: Sporty and strategic

The obstacle course, hiking trail, volleyball court and five swimming pools are perfectly suited to sporty teams who enjoy exercise.Non-sporty activities include treasure hunts, Monopoly and a range of strategic games where teams need to unite to solve problems.

Their Flying Bok Sports Bar and Oude Landgoed Restaurant provide a spot for post-activity bonding over food and drinks.

Details:  70 rooms, three conference venues that can accommodate up to 150 delegates, five pools, an in-house restaurant and bar, complimentary WiFi

BON Hotel Bloemfontein Central

Located within Bloemfontein’s bustling business district, BON Hotel Bloemfontein Central offers smart accommodation close to shops, businesses and transport nodes.

Types of activities: Competitive and food-centred

Master Chef and Chef’s Table challenges as well as the potjie-making competition are great for food lovers.

Their team-building take on Office Olympics and The Amazing Race encourages playful competition.

Details: 115 rooms, 24-hour business centre, six conference rooms that can accommodate up to 450 delegates, an in-house restaurant and bar, complimentary WiFi

BON Hotel Empangeni

BON Hotel Empangeni’s vibrant rooms are complemented by formal gardens and a koi pond. This hotel is located halfway between Durban and Swaziland in Empangeni’s business district.

Types of activities: artistic and creative

Design teams will love the Picture Art Challenge — teams collaborate on a large artwork on canvas using paint; the completed piece can even be taken back to the office to be displayed.

The Newsroom Challenge is also a good option for creatives and includes a range of materials and printing facilities. Take it a technical step further with the Go-Cart Construction Challenge.

Teams can enjoy engaging with puzzles by solving the murder mystery with the CSI Challenge or trying the Minute to Win it Challenge or the Big Quiz.

For a safari-style downtime, game viewing is available at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park an hour’s drive away.

Details: 55 rooms, four meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 230 delegates, an in-house restaurant and bar, complimentary WiFi

Shishangeni by BON Hotels

Shishangeni by BON Hotels is located in the Kruger National Park and is comprised of three luxurious camps — Shishangeni Private Lodge, Camp Shonga and Camp Shawu.

Types of activities:social and safari-loving

Explore the Kruger National Park with your team — go on game drives, immersive bush walks, interact with elephants, ride quad bikes and dine around the boma fire.

You can also engage with the local community at the nearby community school.

Details: 22 chalets, 5 rooms, 5 stylish tents, four meeting rooms that can accommodate 16 to 40 delegates, pool, spa, in-house restaurant

BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay

On the water’s edge with views across the ocean and the yacht harbour, BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay offers modern rooms and is close to area attractions.

Types of activities: tailormade and imaginative

Enjoy activities tailormade for your team by a specialised team-building company.

Choose an Indiana Jones Challenge where teams compete for various ‘artefacts’, a MasterChef-inspired Potjie Challenge, a Minute to Win It Cocktail-Making Challenge or a Movie-Making Challenge.

You can also try your hand at beach or field Olympics.

Details: 75 modern rooms, three meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 80 delegates, pool, an in-house restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge, complimentary WiFi

About BON Hotels

Founded in 2013 by hotelier and businessman, Guy Stehlik and his management team with a collective 127 years in hospitality, BON Hotels is a South African based hotel company that manages, markets, administrates and owns hotels, lodges and resorts throughout Southern Africa, as well as West and East Africa –a fast-growing, exciting and leading African hotel group.

BON Hotels has been providing hotels, resorts and lodges with their renowned management, marketing and administration systems, their acclaimed blueprints and business plans to ensure their full potential in South Africa, DRC, Namibia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. While hotel, lodge or resort owners may indeed have a vision for their properties, the BON Group has the foresight and experience in operating under tricky African conditions, whilst managing expectations for the owner in terms of budgets, marketing and other planning that goes into the running of a hospitality business.

Driven by the ethos of “Good people. Good thinking. Good feeling”, BON Hotels believes in creating loyalty among their guests, suppliers, hotel owners and stakeholders, by bringing a relevant and owner-focused approach to every aspect of hotel administration, management and marketing.