'Fun' has become the buzzword, as some companies have looked for innovative ways to lighten up their offices and keep employees happy.
For instance, in the Manhattan offices of the search engine Hakia.com, employees can express themselves on blank canvases that hang on the walls. At the offices of Motley Fool, a financial Web site, workers can unwind through a couple of networked Xboxes hooked up to a 5-foot plasma screen in a dedicated game room.
"Work has changed from being something you do with your hands to something you do in your head," the New York Post quoted Alexander Kjerulf, author of 'Happy Hour is 9 to 5,' as saying.
"This means that how people feel at work is now terribly important, because you do better head-work when you're happy," he added.
Leading the 'Fun at Workplace' concept are the dot-coms, best among them Google, which got the top spot on Fortune's "Best Places to Work" list this year, for its impressive perks such as game rooms that offer diversions like billiards, PlayStation, pingpong and foosball.
Bosses multiple fields believe that an environment of fun at work can perk up communication, stimulate creativity, reduce stress, increase loyalty and retention, and maximize productivity among employees.
"Fun at work is gaining momentum because people realize that organizations are working better when you allow the whole person to be at work. It's about bringing the whole self to work and being more engaged," workplace consultant Kevin Eikenberry, author of 'Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time,' said.
"People are no longer connecting fun with frivolous. It can be a valuable part of work," he added.
However, merging laughter with work is serious business, and should not be mistaken for slacking off and irresponsibility.
"We don't worry about employees wasting time because if they ever did it would show in their work," Lee Burbage, Motley Fool's head of human resources, said.
Employers make sure that office fun takes diverse forms, be it getting pets on the premises or snack foods and scavenger hunts.
Desiree Gruber, president of Full Picture, a public relations and event planning firm, brings her two dogs to work daily.
"We can never take ourselves too seriously when we have the dogs around. Without fail they make the office a more lively, warm, and spontaneous place," Desiree said.
However, Kjerulf believes that if employers want office fun to be fruitful and productive, they must have a genuine desire to create that fun.
"If you just do it because it's good business it's likely to feel forced and unnatural to people. Fun has to be real, or it's no fun," he said.