What if I had a simple management tip that would contribute to a more enthusiastic and productive team, who are happy to come to work and want to stay around a while?
What do you think the number one thing employees would like more of? Well I’m betting if you did a quick poll right now “more fun” would be pretty close to the top of that list.
That’s my tip – simply add fun to your workplace.
You’re a good manager right? And I’ll bet you’d love to have more fun at work too. But just now you’re thinking fun is too distracting, takes too much time and effort or costs too much money. Or maybe you don’t think you’re a “fun” person or you’re too overwhelmed with deliverables to give any thought to fun.
Well, it might surprise you how simple and easy it is to add fun to your team’s culture, and as Australia’s team fun experts, we work with many fabulous teams who clearly value fun as much as their other goals.
So try these quick and easy tips to embed a culture of fun first into your team:
1. Put Fun on the Calendar
If you want to be Captain Fun, the worst thing to do would be to announce one day “we are all going to have more fun at work” – go and do one fun thing and go back to the daily grind without ever mentioning the word fun again. The solution, in the same way you schedule projects and milestones, it is a great signal to your team if you schedule fun.
Here are some simple suggestions:
- Every day: Rotate through a roster that allows everyone to send one funny email or You Tube to circulate each day at 3.00pm.
- Every week or month: A permanent fun forum, such as monthly birthdays morning tea or Beer O’ Clock games on Friday afternoon. We have some great suggestions below as to what you could routinely include in your fun forum. See our “Beer O Clock” games suggestions here – we are planning to add to this list for our next newsletter.
- Give Your Team a Special Day of the Year: Designate at least one regular day “Fully Fun” day, such as July 1 (if in Finance), the day before Easter, April Fool’s Day, May Day, First Day of Spring etc etc. Set a budget and run a competition to get suggestions for what your team will do on their “Fully Fun” Day.
- Sweepstakes or Tipping Comps for Major Events: Tipping comps are always excellent talking points and fun for those involved. Sweepstakes are easier to manage and also brilliant if there is a good prize at stake. These are great tied in with major events such as the Olympics or World Cup Soccer or Rugby.
2. Share the Load and Reward Creativity
Don’t make the mistake of taking sole responsibility for generating fun ideas, there are many ways to engage everyone in contributing to your fun culture. For example, send out an email right now saying you have a “JOY GRANT” of $500 to spend on something that will benefit the whole team and you’ll fund the most creative or off the wall suggestion. You could choose a team charity and encourage quirky fundraising ideas – the company could match the money made by the team from a fun and creative fundraising event that involves the whole team.
3. Make People Feel Special
Putting a personal slant on team fun encourages closer bonds and bridges the distance between work self and personal self. Here are some really nice suggestions.
- Create a team pinboard – fun visuals are personal and really inclusive. Send someone around with a digital camera on a Friday afternoon asking team mates to strike a creative pose. Or use the Nintendo morphed faces application or get or ask in a cartoonist to draw caricatures of team members – anything that will make the team chuckle when they see it and signal to other departments that yours is a fun place to be.
- Traveling flowers – this lovely idea is to have a beautiful bunch of flowers that travel around the office from desk to desk on the hour. The idea is to pass the flowers on with a reason, for eg “I’m giving you these for an hour because you ….. (insert positive impact statement), please enjoy and pass them on to the next person”. A variation could be traveling team pet (generally a goldfish) or some other form of mascot.
- First day welcome ritual – get a cake or pizza sent to the desk of a new staff member on their first day and have everyone gather around to meet them.
- Start a team birthday policy where people are made to feel valued by the team on their birthday. You could start a policy where everyone has to send a one line email to the birthday person starting with “the best thing about you is …….”
- Hold a bill raffle, where once a month the company pays a personal bill (eg phone bill) for one member of staff (a good inclusion in your Fun Forum)
- Also to be handed out in your forum you could start a monthly award that rewards a “human quality” in the work environment such as the “Human Touch” or “Act of Kindness” award. Or the person that has contributed the most fun and laughter to the team each month could be acknowledged.
In summary, never under estimate the potential upside of building stronger bonds amongst team members. One of the great things about running Team Bonding is the stories that teams take away from their event and the thought that people get home and share with partners or friends “we did this cool thing at work today….” It makes friends and family really jealous! The bonds of friendship groups are formed via shared experiences and memories – it is very easy for workplaces to ignite these experiences, and for everyone to feel more connected to each other, a small amount of time an effort could yield big results.