At Confetti, we are firm believers that fun and happiness can be woven into any work environment. But we also know that cultivating fun in the workplace can take some time and effort.
In line with that, we’ve compiled some of our favorite DOs and DONTs to get you started.
While having fun in the workplace should absolutely be encouraged and celebrated, it shouldn’t necessarily be required. Every employee has unique commitments, interests, and deadlines both in and outside of work. It’s important to accept and embrace an employee’s decision to sit out an event or activity that isn’t related to his or her job.
Fun workplace activities should always be inclusive to ensure no one feels left out or alienated. This includes taking into account people with disabilities or those who may require specific accommodations, such as wheelchair accessibility or gluten free menu options. When planning your event, take a bird's eye view of the demographics of your team and try to pinpoint a convenient day and time that is best for the majority. Tools like Doodle can help you figure out the best time for groups. In our experience, we’ve found that earlier events are best for those with families to return back to at a good time. Younger teams usually enjoy doing events after 6:00 pm on Thursdays. Survey your team to determine what may work best. Be mindful of any upcoming deadlines or projects and schedule your outing away from them.
Depending on the size of your company, team, department and company-wide events can really change in nature from event to event. Since these larger events are intended to appeal to a wide range of employees, it’s important to seek input from your colleagues. Find out where your employees’ interests lie, and look for common ground that will result in a great event for everyone. This will demonstrate that you listen to your team, and can help to avoid a potential faux pas--like planning a volunteer day at the shelter only to find out half your team hates cats (but who could really hate cats?) or planning a Friday evening event when most of the team would prefer to spend this time with friends and family outside of work. After an event, it’s good to welcome any feedback or suggestions from your team so you can continuously improve to make them better.
If your workplace isn’t footing the bill for your team’s outing, be sure to keep all costs at a reasonable level. Remember, despite salary levels, each one of your colleagues has unique financial responsibilities. The last thing you want to do is plan a great event that alienates some of your teammates who feel uncomfortable with the cost.
This should be a given at events with coworkers, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Excessive drinking is never a good idea at workplace events, and can play a role in how your coworkers perceive you. If you plan to allow (or provide) alcohol at your company event, lead by example and limit yourself to a beer or two. Ideally, you can expect the same level of restraint from your coworkers. If you anticipate any issues, it may be a good idea to consider providing a limited number of drink tokens to attendees for events where alcohol is provided. Make sure you also provide food at any function serving alcohol, and emphasize the importance of safety by providing safe transportation options for those who may need them.
Cultivating a happy, healthy, and fun workplace requires finding balance between fun team activities and work priorities. A major rule of thumb is to invite every team member (or even the entire company if you’re still below 60 employees). Encourage employees to sit with coworkers they may not know well, or organize activities that encourage mingling, so that no one feels let out. A fun and healthy work environment should have a positive impact on employee potential. At the end of the day, the objective is simple—work hard, play nice, and have fun doing it.
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