The following is a guest post from Gini Graham Scott, author of Enjoy!: 101 Little Ways to Add Fun to Your Work Everyday and A Survival Guide for Working with Humans.
April Fool’s Day is a great time to add humor and fun to the workplace. Not only does it improve morale, it can even increase productivity. Here are some suggestions for incorporating some fun at work:
Create a Fun List or Fun Box for Your Office
Find out what others in your office like to do to make the workplace more fun by inviting people to add their suggestions to a fun list which you circulate via hard copy, e-mail, or through an online document sharing service. Start it off with a brief explanation and a few suggestions of your own to get everyone started, and let the ideas pour in. Or use a Fun Box – essentially a suggestion box for fun ideas – which people can add to anonymously or use their name. Invite people to volunteer to organize any activities that involve the group, such as a picnic or party. And offer rewards for the best suggestions.
Turn on a Radio Station, CD Player, or MP3 Player
If people are doing fairly routine, repetitive work that doesn’t require much concentration, suggest that you could play some music in the background – provided everyone can agree on the type of music to play. It can create a nice community spirit if you all listen together. And customers might enjoy the music too! Start off by asking employees whether they would like to hear music while they work, and if so, what kind of music. Ask people if they have their own albums they might like to bring in. And if everyone’s game for it, this might be a way to introduce different cultures by featuring the music of that culture. This is a great way to honor a diverse workforce and create multi-cultural awareness and understanding.
Have an Art Party
Consider this a fun way for people to relax during a lunch break or after work party. Provide some basic art supplies (such as paper, colored markers, crayons, tape, old magazines, glue stick) or invite people to bring their own. Then, everyone interested can spend a half-hour or hour creating some designs or collages, which can be displayed in designated places, such as around the coffee pot, in the halls, in people’s offices or cubicles, or on people’s desks. Clients might find this enjoyable to look at too, and the art can be a great conversation starter. Later, you can always have another party and put up the new art.
Bring in a Massage Therapist for Back and Shoulder Massages
Some companies do this for their employees from time-to-time, or you can organize an office pool where you each contribute by signing-up and paying for your own massage – typically around $10-15 for a 10 to 15 minute massage. It’s a great way to get everyone relaxed and re-energized, plus massages have health benefits, too.
Organize Special Dress-Up Days
Some companies already do this, with casual Fridays or allowing employees to come in costume for Halloween. But if your company doesn’t, you and some other employees might try to organize this – with the blessing of the boss, of course. Casual dress days are common, so why not try going the other way to have a special dress-up day on occasion? People can come dressed in tuxedos and gowns. To add to the occasion, invite people to bring some gourmet specialties to enjoy during lunch or after work.
These are just a few ways to have more fun and laughter in the workplace. Do your own brainstorming with others to think of even more ideas. You can brainstorm aloud in a group, or quietly think up ideas on your own, and then bring them to the group to decide what everyone thinks is the most fun. Then, go to it. Put your ideas into action, and enjoy.
Gini Graham Scott, PhD, is the author of over 50 books, specializing in work relationships, professional and personal development, popular culture, and social trends. She is also the host/producer of the online radio show Changemakers.