When I was a sales manager, I used to do chair races with my team. We had a long narrow office that was a perfect race track. We’d line up on one end and then run and jump on the chair, riding on our knees as far as we could go. There was no prize. There was no incentive. It was just plain old fashioned fun!
What we got out of it was:
- Lighten up an intense day
- Adrenaline rush
- Simple to do and didn’t take a lot of time
- Of course there were bragging rights for whomever rode their chair the furthest.
When you’re looking for ways to add a little fun to the workplace, don’t overwhelm yourself with a big elaborate event.
Sure, a BBQ is always fun. Although, for us vegetable lovers in the crowd, grilled flesh isn’t always appetizing, so please make sure to have some healthy options on hand too! But, that’s exactly why planning food is complicated and overwhelming – always having to please a variety of food needs. Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, etc., there are always many different food needs, so don’t feel obligated to have food at every event. Otherwise, your team will come to expect the food and not recognize your desire to emphasize the FUN part!
Back to my sales manager days, I loved it when my team would come up with fun ways to have impromptu and easy fun. Often they would suggest ways for us to relax and take a group break.
Some of their fun and easy ideas included:
- Dance parties where we’d all get up from our desks and dance to one song. We’d laugh and poke fun of each others goofy dance skills.
- Walk down the block to grab a quick treat – like an frozen treat in the middle of summer.
- Share hilarious stories about a crazy customer during staff meetings.
- Occasionally grab lunch as a group, but not very often because we had busy schedules that would require us to meet with clients for lunch meetings. Our group lunches were rare and appreciated because of the infrequency.
There are many ways to connect and have fun, but it doesn’t have to take all day. So, don’t feel like it has to be some big ordeal to insert a little fun at the office.
I have had clients that feel like making time for fun isn’t a priority because they want people to work at full steam every day. Sure, I know that you want a productive and effective team. But, it’s important to slow down and recharge batteries when needed. Really, your employees will appreciate a little fun and it’ll help them to do better work.
Remember: You don’t have to be the one coming up with all the fun ideas. In fact, it’s a great idea to have your team members come up with fun ways to connect. Here are a few suggestions to help with nurturing the fun in the team:
- Give them a small budget to use for the small and fun moments. Budgets vary from company to company, department to department, figure out what works best for your group and where you get the best ROI for the dollars spent on fun.
- Have different people come up with fun ideas. The outgoing person on your team may not always be the best person to use for ideas. Is there a shy person who can help out too?
- Take pictures of the team doing fun stuff and share on your company social media profiles – this helps other people to see that you’re having a good time and building stronger teams. If social media isn’t your thing, ask someone to help who loves posting on social media sites.
Ultimately, having fun at work doesn’t have to be a big gnarly ordeal. Sure, you may want to invest a bunch of time in and money into the company annual party, but for infusing a little shot of random fun into your day, look for simple ways to lighten the mood.
Chair race anyone?!