Here are some of our favorite minimal-effort, minimal-cost ways to bring some joy to the workplace.
Organizing an optional ‘employee show and tell’ during the lunch hour is a great way to encourage employees to learn more about each other and take the stage to share something they care about. This is a great opportunity for coworkers to share their passions with others—whether it be a quirky side hustle, a unique volunteer commitment, or an unwavering love of playing the ukulele. Employees can learn more about each other and feel empowered to talk about the things they care about (besides their work, of course!).
Most of us probably don’t associate meetings with ‘fun’ and ‘excitement’, but a little creativity can go a long way in making meetings a little less monotonous. When the opportunity arises, try hosting meetings offsite, whether that means gathering around a table at the coffee shop across the street or enjoying a meeting outside in the courtyard. Want to get a little exercise and some fresh air? Try taking your conference calls on the go by participating in walking meetings.
Even if your group dynamic and office location don’t allow for much flexibility, liven up meetings by playing music during the first couple minutes while everyone is getting settled in, or break the ice by having a casual round-table discussion to kick-off staff meetings.
Workplace potlucks offer a great opportunity for employees to show off their cooking skills (or bring in their favorite flavor of chips) and enjoy lunch together, without incurring much, if any, cost. This can be especially useful in work environments where employees tend to work through their lunch or go their separate ways during breaks. Reserve a couple conference rooms or host a potluck offsite to encourage some low-pressure employee bonding.
Getting your coworkers together to serve food at the local shelter, clean up downtown, or walk shelter dogs is a great way to build camaraderie among the team and do something positive for the community. Try scheduling a couple optional volunteer outings during the lunch hour, or better yet, organize a day-long volunteer effort with the entire team.
Host an employee basketball tournament, running club, or capture the flag league to spend time together and log some exercise all at once. Want some low-impact options that can be done during the lunch hour? Try yoga, meditation, or walking. Gather feedback from employees to see which activities will work best for your group.
Cultivating a fun and happy work environment can start with a few simple gestures. Just remember to be inclusive, remain aware of workload and time constraints, and make sure that while partaking in fun activities at work is encouraged, it shouldn’t necessarily be required.
Some creativity combined with a desire to work happy can both go a long way in cultivating a workplace that doesn’t only work hard, but works fun.
What are your favorite ways to have fun at work?