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Game Over? Weekend get-togethers, mandatory participation--boy, your workplace fun is starting to seem like . . . work.

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When employees at Minneapolis-based e-commerce services firmImaginetwant to unwind, they have a little fun. Sometimes the staff takesin a minor-league baseball game or a picnic. Other times, they gettogether for bowling or wine tasting. They even had aSurvivor-esque staff contest once. The goal of all this,says president and CEO Scott Litman, 34, is to take a breather."It's nice after a long week to get together torelax," he says. "Sometimes it's a wrap-up to theweek. Other times, we're just catching our breath becausewe'll be working over the weekend."

In our low-unemployment, 24/7 economy, employers like Imaginettry to do everything they can to make work fun. These days,companies are promoting their workplace cultures as much as theirproducts. Entrepreneurs hope that offering opportunities for fun,whether picnics, barbecues or watergun fights, will ease theirrecruiting and retention challenges.

But while employers strive to show their fun sides, surveys showemployees are putting more value on their personal time. A May 2000Radcliffe Public Policy Center and Fleet Financial Group survey of1,008 workers revealed two-thirds were not satisfied with theirwork/family balance. When asked to rank job factors ranging frompersonal time to salary and job prestige, having a schedule thatallowed for personal time was No. 1 on the list. (Last on the list?Having a high-prestige job.) In today's crazy, dotcom-fueledeconomy, personal time is as powerful as a paycheck. "We foundpeople were making family time a priority," says ShannonQuinn, a member of the study's research team at the RadcliffePublic Policy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "They werewilling to trade money for personal time."

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