You spend 60 hours a week there – countless more hours commuting to and from.
It’s where you ride out the tide of stressful deadlines and big wins, quarters good and bad.
I’m talking, of course, about your office.
When you consider how much time you spend there and all the ups and downs you weather, it makes perfect sense that your office should be more than just a room full of cubicles where you go to do work. Both you and your employees (be they many or few) deserve a work environment that recognizes your humanity – that feels like home and makes it easy to find fun and inspiration amidst the grind.
Tomorrow is National Fun At Work Day, also known as the perfect opportunity to pour some thought into making your office a little more fun. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.
Bring Your Dog to Work
We’ve advocated for Bring Your Dog to Work policies before. Having pets around at the office has been shown to boost morale, reduce employee stress, and increase the number of interactions between employees. For today’s purpose, we recommend bringing your dog to work simply because it’s fun. There’s no better way to unwind after a stressful project than by getting down on the floor and loving up on a cute pup – trust us.
Play Games and Activities That Help You Unwind
Whether it’s a puzzle the team can collaboratively work on, an adult coloring book, or fun brain teasers, spending part of your day on something enjoyable and separate from your normal work can help destress and promote creative thinking. If you have the space, consider creating an area specifically designated for relaxation. At Grasshopper, we have a few couches around a video gaming console – perfect for taking our mind off the daily grind.
A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right? Competing with coworkers can help employees get inspired. We’ve had gingerbread house competitions, a fantasy football league, and even a spontaneous wall sit competition at Grasshopper HQ.
One of the most effective ways to make the office feel like home? Decorate. You can create any mood you want simply by choosing a new coat of paint. Take some time to make your space your own and encourage your team to do the same. Pretty soon your office will be completely unique and create a sense of belonging and whimsy.
Pro tip: Help employees perfect their workspace by offering new hires a small stipend to get the decorating started.
Provide Free Coffee (duh!)
Okay, this is an obvious one, but important nonetheless. Nothing drains the passion out of work like caffeine withdrawal, and shelling out $5 for a cup of coffee isn’t exactly fun either. Keep yourself and your team energized and productive with a kitchen stocked full of the K cups.
Let Go the Shackles
You can have the most delightful office in the world – a video game console, free coffee, beer on tap – and it can still feel like prison when your team is shackled to it. Create a flexible work policy and allow employees to work remotely on occasion. That way, when they’re in the office, they’ll truly want to be there and participate in the fun atmosphere.
Create a Recognition Program
Everyone loves to be recognized when they do something great. Whether it’s going above and beyond for a customer or saving a coworker’s butt, create a program to help employees give each other credit when they do something awesome.
At Grasshopper, we have I Caught – whenever we want to recognize a team member, we fill out a card with whatever wonderful thing they did. Then we read the cards aloud at our monthly lunch & learn.
"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their [bosses], they just don't." – Elle Woods
What combines fun activities with friendly competition? A little exercise. Encourage your team to get moving throughout the day. Grasshopper has had yoga instructors come in and teach us how to do yoga right at our desks.
It’ll help you stay focused and relaxed. Not to mention, seeing coworkers strike a random pose in the middle of the day? Talk about your whimsical office!
Celebrate Wins Big & Small
Whether you’re still a startup or have grown a little, you and your team are still grinding away all the time, trying to serve customers and build the business. To help make the effort seem worthwhile, take a break to celebrate wins both large and small.
Host a happy hour when you hit 100 customers, order pizza when you optimize a time-sucking process, congratulate employees when they reach an anniversary with the company. Acknowledge and celebrate the little milestones and your team will have that much more incentive to dive back in.
Keep Your Vision Front and Center
One of the big luxuries of being a small company is knowing each team member is passionate about, and driven by, your mission. Whatever your vision is for the company, keep it front and center throughout the office.
For example, we have a space on the wall at Grasshopper HQ where we post nice tweets we receive from customers. It’s a perfect reminder, every time you walk by, of why we work so hard for our customers.
Have Some Fun
No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to make your office an enjoyable place to work. Focus on infusing a little more fun, and you might just create the kind of delightful office culture that inspires both you and your team and even attracts new and passionate talent.
How have you infused a little fun into the office? Share with us in the comments below!