"Work" and "fun" have historically been considered polar opposites. It was thought that you can work or you can have fun, but you can't do both at the same time--or in the same place. Work is what you do for your paycheck and fun is what you do on the weekend. Most of us must work to earn money to live, and sometimes enjoying the work we do seems like a luxury we can't afford. Or can we?

Each year, the Great Place to Work Institute asks thousands of employees to rate their experience of workplace factors, including "This is a fun place to work." On Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in America list, employees in companies that are ranked as "great places to work" responded overwhelmingly--an average of 81 percent--that they are working in a "fun" environment. At the "good" companies--those that apply for inclusion, but do not make the top 100--only 62 percent of employees say they are having fun. That gap in experience between the great and good companies is, surprisingly, one of the largest in the survey.

The big takeaway: Employees at the best companies are having the most fun. Likewise, if you start having more fun at work, your company will be a better place to work. High performers are having the most fun and people who are having fun tend to be high performers. These are two sides of the same coin.

This is compelling data that supports the notion for any company to strive to make work more fun for employees in their organization. For individuals, time at work is more enjoyable and goes by faster the more excited they are about what they are doing, who they work with, and what they are achieving, which all affect the pride they have in their work, themselves, and the company. The benefits to companies are also substantial, as promoting a fun work environment helps them become "Employers of Choice," which subsequently makes it easier to attract high-performing talent, because such talent has a choice of where they can work, and easier to get them to stay longer with the organization.

Why Aren't You Having Fun at Work?

So why don't more people have fun at work? Is it our Puritan work ethic that makes us feel guilty if we are having fun? Is it our fear of being judged, ridiculed, or chastised by others--especially our boss? Do we inherently feel that doing fun things is "wasting time" when we could be, and are being paid to be, productive? Maybe we each harbor a little of all those concerns.

The reasons we don't have more fun at work are many. But we all do have a choice in the matter. You can make a choice to make fun a natural and ongoing part of how you work going forward, starting with your own work and that of your immediate team. In Work Made Fun Gets Done! my co-author Mario Tamayo and I offer individuals, teams, and companies alike a collection of simple, easy-to-use, real-life examples, techniques, strategies, and best practices to make work more fun--for any worker in any location, onsite or remotely--so that work can be easier and more enjoyable to complete.

This is much more than having a Ping-Pong table in the employee break room, free soda in the refrigerator, and an occasional office party. It's about "truly embedding a climate of fun. Building meaningful work in a nurturing environment, filled with growth opportunities underpinned by supportive management and trusted leadership--increasingly a must-have for organizations that want to thrive."