But never underestimate the impact that smaller (and free!) activities can have on morale and employee happiness. Here are 10 of our favorite, no-cost activities to improve workplace culture.
Book a conference room during the lunch hour, grab your colleagues, and take turns bringing in favorite board games. This is a great way to decompress and spend time with colleagues you may not regularly work with.
We’re all familiar with that mid-afternoon, post-lunch, caffeine crash where the whole office feels just a little lethargic and tired. That 3:00 PM slump is the perfect time to get the office moving and energized. Get your coworkers together for some fresh air and a 15 minute walking session around the courtyard. You’ll all come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon. Who knows? This could also be a great opportunity to get a bit of face time with that manager you’ve been trying to get a hold of.
Give each employee an envelope, jar, or basket to keep at their desk with a few sheets of colorful scrap paper. At your next staff meeting, introduce the concept of “something nice” inboxes and encourage your colleagues to leave friendly notes, positive affirmations, kudos, and compliments for each other. This takes almost no work at all and can be a great way to encourage positivity among colleagues.
Get approval to utilize a section of your communal bulletin board for monthly employee spotlights. Each month, randomly select a colleague to bring in photos and answer a few interesting questions (What’s your hidden talent? Cat or dog person? If you could have a superpower, what would it be?) about themselves to be placed on the board. These random facts can be excellent conversation starters and allow employees to learn more about each other with ease. This is a great campaign to start off with your executive team–and make them more relatable and approachable to the average employee.
Host a potluck-style picnic at a nearby park to get your team outside for an hour or two. A couple weeks before the outing, pass a sign-up sheet around so that employees can bring their favorite passing dish. This is a great opportunity to get away from the office on a sunny afternoon. Don’t forget the frisbee!
Plan a lunch swap once a week with one (or more) of your close colleagues. Pack a lunch, then swap it with a coworker. This activity is best for adventurous foodies with no restrictions, and can be a great way to try something new.
Don’t worry–this isn’t what you’re thinking. Get a small group of colleagues together for a weekly potluck–except have one person cook enough food to share with the entire group. Rotate each day so each person only needs to cook lunch once a week!
Remember how fun those collaborative creative writing exercises in middle school English class were? There’s no shame in bringing that same activity to the office. Type up a couple sentences to start out a fictional story then leave it in the break room for colleagues to add on to. Add to the fun by reading the completed pieces at the end of staff meetings.
This activity speaks for itself. Who doesn’t love having a few furry companions at the workplace!?
Remember those hidden talents we asked our colleagues to share on the monthly bulletin board? It’s time to show them off! At your next department meeting host a talent show. This works best if you encourage employees to “compete” in small groups or by department sector for the title of most talented group!
Sometimes the small things can make a huge difference. Try out these fun, free activities at your workplace and see how your workplace culture and morale improves.