- Create an annual apple pie or Texas chili cook-off. Award prizes and serve the winning recipe at work.
- Organize a company sports tournament anything from ping-pong to horseshoes to volleyball to softball.
- Do a recipe exchange as part of a monthly "bring-a-treat-for-lunch" activity.
- Create a "Hero of the Week" Customer Service Award. At your weekly staff meetings have everyone tell what "extras" they did for their customers. Then everyone votes for the winner and you pass around a "traveling trophy."
- 'Do a company or branch sales incentive (monthly, quarterly or yearly). Everyone wins money and the "team" does a field trip to the local mall.
- If you're the boss, do a barbecue for your employees at your home.
- Buy season tickets to a local theater group, symphony or sports team. Spread the tickets around among your employees.
- Bring in a masseuse and give everyone a 30-minute massage after a particularly busy day, week or month. This works especially well if you do it during a sale.
- Do kid's day or half-day, and allow the employees to bring their children to work.
- Organize noontime walks or exercise sessions to boost energy and morale.
Company outings should be a combination of employee and employee/family outings. They can create bonds by merging work life with home life.
A sense of parity is established when a group of co-workers gets to eat hamburgers and hot dogs at a picnic table with the owners and managers of the company. The impact of this type of outing is long-lived.
Ideas for company outings can range from staff meetings at a pizza parlor to the annual company picnic and/or Christmas party. One of my most successful programs was when we did an annual "Company Outing." It was a Friday-evening-through-Sunday getaway for employees and their families. (Yes, we even closed on Saturday!)
We did house boats on lakes, and rented houses in the mountains and at the beach. We held our own "Olympics," organized team functions, played real and miniature golf, and lots more. The company paid for part of this event, but the employees also contributed food and money. These outings were looked forward to, and accomplished the goal of helping make the company a fun workplace "family."
Business owners should also take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate truly important moments within the organization. Celebrate sales and profit achievements. Celebrate new projects, completion of jobs, completion of training segments, year-end success, and similar landmark events.
Celebrating birthdays and anniversaries is nice, but this really
doesn't promote and/or encourage greater productivity. And that's
really what your objective should be.
Employees spend half their waking hours at work. It should feel good being there. So you need to include all employees when working toward making the workplace clean, fun and interesting.
What I call "warm fuzzies" are important, too. For example, it's great to celebrate events and promote activities but it's also very important to "touch" each employee directly, and let them know that they're valued contributors to the organization.
I'm talking here about a lot of "little things" which, while requiring minimal effort, will have a big effect on morale. Some examples of this might be leaving a "thank you" note or a candy bar on an employee's desk, or taking an employee who really likes good coffee out for a special cup of coffee.
Try to make the the "warm fuzzies" you do an extension of yourself. Remember, though they have to be sincere and timely to have real meaning.
Here's a simple checklist to help make working at your company more fun:
- Smile. Make a sincere smile a trademark of your company, starting with yourself.
- Communicate. Offer all employees a variety of vehicles for communicating, such as memos, voice mail, meetings, e-mail, and the like.
- Allow mistakes. Translate mistakes into problem-solving opportunities for employees.
- Mandate vacations. Make sure all your employees take vacations.
- Create family events. Try to link work and family life in situations where employees will have a good time.
- Support outside activities. Offer company support for outside involvement on the part of employees.
- Encourage healthy lifestyles. Promote exercise, healthy eating, no smoking and overall well-being.
- Celebrate. Take every opportunity to celebrate positive situations.
Lastly, remember as the "boss," you control the "fun pulse" of your company. Be aware, be alert, and have fun!