We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, which over a lifetime averages out to one third of our lives or about 90,000 hours. At Careerstone, we believe you should enjoy as many of those hours as you can. While it might not be possible to eliminate all the stress associated with your job, infusing some fun into your workplace can make what might otherwise seem like “just another day in the office” more enjoyable.
Encouraging fun at work promotes a more positive culture which boosts engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. Employees that feel fulfilled at work are more likely to give their best effort to help their organizations thrive.
Let’s explore some ways to create a workplace that your team looks forward to being a part of in the new year:
1. Spend time out of the office (or beyond your WFH setup!)
Commuting to work only to spend the entire eight-hour day sitting at your desk might not be the most enticing reason to come into the office. That routine begins to feel mundane day after day. Why not mix it up occasionally? Consider getting outside and hosting a small group walking meeting or switching up your workspace. If you work remotely, experiment with working in different locations – maybe you could try out your local library or a cool new coffee shop. See if there’s a different conference room or office space you and your team could occupy occasionally. After all, breaking up your regular routine boosts creativity and productivity.
Encourage your team to plan regular lunches or happy hours an hour or two before the workday ends. Scheduling these fun activities during the regular workday ensures that everyone can show up and enjoy themselves. This helps people bond and build more robust relationships with their coworkers. Relaxing and unwinding after a long day means that people can leave their stressors behind and can show up to work the next day feeling excited and motivated.
2. Carve out time for non-work-related discussions.
Building relationships with your team that extend beyond work tasks and job titles will lead to finding more purpose and support at work. You’ll also have a more holistic picture of your coworkers and peers which forges stronger connections. Creating more depth in your relationships at work involves spending time talking about topics that don’t relate to the workplace at all.
Here at Careerstone Group, we like to add a closing question to the end of all of our team meetings. We’ve asked each other all sorts of questions ranging from “what’s the best gift you’ve ever received and why?” to “what is one thing about yourself that you’ve worked to actively change?” and everything in between! You can reference this list of open-ended questions to spark meaningful conversations with your team.
3. Take intentional breaks throughout the day.
Breaks should be a regular part of your workday. Whether it’s an hour for lunch or 15 minutes periodically throughout the afternoon, doing something other than looking at a screen for eight hours straight will increase your productivity, focus, and energy levels. This can also provide an opportunity to engage in fun activities together as a team.
Beyond the standard water cooler chats in the lunchroom, you can get creative with the types of breaks you take during the day. That might look like sharing funny (but appropriate) memes in your group text or relaxing in a common space to work on a group puzzle, game, or trivia. Being able to let loose and laugh a little during the workday can help lower stress by increasing endorphin levels.
4. Schedule team building activities.
If you plan a team retreat, consider allotting time on your agenda for team building activities. Although these games occasionally get a bad rap for being lame, done well, team building activities are a great way to improve communication and collaboration while giving people a chance to enjoy themselves.
Ditch the trust falls and opt for some more creative and less cliché activities. The retreats we plan for our clients have featured a range of unique activities from a scavenger hunt on city streets (or a virtual one!) to building a tower out of spaghetti, tape, and a marshmallow.
5. Celebrate milestones and accomplishments.
You work hard, achieve your goals, then rinse and repeat. It’s so easy to keep moving on to the next task at hand even after you’ve achieved great success. Take a moment to pause and celebrate all that you accomplished. Celebrating wins at work not only boosts morale and increases motivation, it also leads to more success.
People deserve praise for exceeding expectations and there are many ways to recognize success. Celebrations come in all different shapes and sizes – from gift cards to office parties and extra days off. Even a meeting with fun Zoom backgrounds dedicated to sharing public recognition can be a fun way to celebrate success as a team! Before “forcing” fun on your team, be sure to ask them how they like being recognized and what type of celebrating appeals to them.
As you’re thinking about how to incorporate fun into your workplace this year, consider scheduling a team retreat that incorporates work and play. Contact us to get your retreat on the calendar today!