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It's Time For An Infusion Of Fun

I had the opportunity to work with a client in early 2020 B.C. - Before Covid- and their workplace had the coolest vibe; everyone was fun, lively, upbeat, and funny.  There was an energy… a feeling… a special something that made me want to just hang out in this space and watch these people work.  Their work looked like conversation, like fun, like friendship… dare I say, it looked like PLAY.  I wanted to bottle their culture and share it with every company I know.

And, then... shutdown.

Since the pandemic (and ensuing social distancing, working from home, and business pivoting that feels like a daily cha-cha) we have lost some of the fun that used to be infused into our work. As we start to move back to work places and venture back into the real world, we need to make sure that we are being INTENTIONAL with our re-introduction of fun. It takes commitment and planning to re-engage the light, lively, and jovial culture that was ever-present in the B.C. way of living.

So, how do companies like Google, SAS, Hyundai, Limeade, and Discover Card create these fun environments that get them recognized as the best companies to work for in America?  Very simply, they are Employee Centric. Everything is about the employee experience.  The culture is created around what will make people happy, balanced, and healthy.  What a breath of fresh air!

Years ago, I went to a training by the creativity guru Bob Pike and he emphasized the need to bring levity and fun into the workplace in order to create a positive employee experience.  According to his book, The Fun Minute Manager, a fun work environment is one in which formal and informal activities occur regularly that are designed to uplift people’s spirits and remind people of their value to their managers, their organization, and to each other.

These activities include:

The use of humor



Opportunities for self development

Recognition of achievements and milestones.

Something very strange happens to many of us when we cross the threshold into the workplace, each morning:  Our fun gets extracted. It just disappears and we become these really serious, super responsible, weirdly reactive, fun-less people.  The fun is, literally, ZAPPED out of us.  And, the damnedest thing is, we’re really fun people at home! 

Am I right?

Alright, so this week I’ve decided to share some ideas on how we can all duplicate that kind of culture.  I think we could all use less pressure and a little more fun. Sound good?  And, I know your people would love it, too.

Following, you’ll find 52 ideas to make your workplace more fun.  My goal is to give you one thing to add to your culture, each week, so that you can change the vibe, feeling, and commitment levels of those who work for you.  Remember, this is about being employee centric and strategically creating a positive employee experience.  You can do this!

  1. Build a Wall of Fame

  2. Get Some Toys (koosh balls, pez dispensers, hula hoops, a sand tray, wooden blocks, origami paper)

  3. Set Up a Game Room in the office

  4. Start a “Fun Committee”

  5. Put out a Daily Riddle

  6. Have a marshmallow fight (variation: every time someone says Hump Day on Wednesdays, they should get pummeled)

  7. Create art together

  8. Hire an expert to come in and lead a Laughter Yoga class in one of your Zoom meetings

  9. Compliment someone, every day

  10. Give out little gifts (soda, chips, candy)

  11. Friendly competitions

  12. Create a Fun at Work Day – only fun allowed, no work

  13. Decorate your workspace to fit your personal style

  14. Pranks, jokes, games, raffles, and goofiness

  15. Teammate Trivia

  16. White Elephant auction (just because)

  17. Create special interest groups around hobbies—and join one!

  18. Have more Happy Hour meet ups, even if online

  19. Give more standing ovations and high fives

  20. Host an Open House monthly, between departments (food=fun and camaraderie)

  21. Have a meeting outside

  22. Build a house for Habitat for Humanity

  23. Run a 5k together

  24. Volunteer monthly

  25. Let the team members choose their “Subtitle” (Queen Bee of All Things Social, Chief Fun Officer, Director of Creative Celebrations)

  26. Have dress up/theme days beyond “Casual”

  27. Wash an employee’s car by hand

  28. Have a mid-week yummy treat on Wednesdays

  29. Set up an on-site dry cleaner pick up/drop off

  30. Give a lotto ticket to each teammate

  31. Office chair relay race

  32. Have a Root Beer Pong competition

  33. Create a Pun-a-thon

  34. Look up the monthly holidays and celebrate the weirdest ones you can find… National Noodle Month, anybody? Why not have a noodle potluck?

  35. Do an Extreme Office Makeover

  36. Have a movie night, in person or using a live watch social platform

  37. Go to an open mic night

  38. Catch a professional sports event

  39. Create a scavenger hunt around the office

  40. Have a dance break as often as possible

  41. Set up a table with a puzzle on it and let people solve it

  42. Create a coloring book station

  43. Go on field trips

  44. Create a daily ritual that everyone looks forward to

  45. Give out silly awards (Best hair, Greatest attitude, Super Man/ Wonder Woman)

  46. Turn up the tunes

  47. Do a mannequin challenge (or whatever is trending) video

  48. Keep a Candy Stash Drawer stocked

  49. Bring a karaoke machine in and stage your own American Idol

  50. Start a Fun Parade/ Conga Line at 5:00 on a Friday and get people out of the office in style

  51. Create a daily office meme

  52. Start the day with interviews like “The Office” to create a little quirkiness and fun

The words "work" and "fun" shouldn't be antithetical.  Studies over the last two decades have revealed that when workplaces make fun a factor it creates happier employees who feel more satisfied. And happy employees are all around better at their jobs. Workplace fun has been linked to enhanced motivation, increased productivity, reduced stress, and higher job satisfaction. Think about the things you do every day at work and try to make room for some laughter and team-building fun in the workplace.

So, here's to being goofy and light and free-spirited and silly and joyful and funny and happy and inspired. Go find- and make- more fun. We all deserve more of this.

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