This may seem like an oxymoron statement but it is possible to have some fun in even the most stressful environments. Although I can’t speak for having a job in the White House, FBI or the Secret Service, my guess is that even they may have a laugh or two once in a while — at least I hope so.
What I am inviting you to do is bring in a little more joy to the workplace and encourage your employees to join in, which will then lead to a more productive (gasp!) and well-balanced office setting.
I have been fortunate enough to work at some of the best companies in the world and even when we were under great pressure to deliver a project on time or secure that new client, we still found moments to have fun with each other. We would participate in team off-sites, we would celebrate a big project win with delicious desserts and coffee, and we always found time to discuss the latest hit TV show (This is Us?!) which aired the night before or a show we binged watched (Stranger Things anyone?!). Of course we gave fair warning to those within earshot to put on their headphones so we wouldn’t ruin the surprise. Here are a few of my favorite tips to consider to lighten the mood in your office and make it a little more fun:
Take Little Breaks — We can’t work all day and expect to be at our best all the time. We need time to break free from our thoughts, step away from the desk/office to walk around, stretch our legs, connect with other people, grab a fresh cup of coffee. When we give ourselves a break, we can actually be more productive and solutions to a problem we may have encountered can just pop up out of nowhere have lighter moments throughout the day, which will re-energize us to go back and knock out those to do items on our list.
Create Non-work Spaces — I have seen small game areas where decks of Uno cards and a few board games create fifteen minutes of bonding, friendship, fun, and relaxation. This small area takes the spotlight off performance and creates a far more conducive atmosphere. In addition to game areas, I have seen hobby spaces where people can enjoy working on hobbies as diverse as scrapbooking or stamp collecting to plotting out complex train journeys or hiking adventures.
An underlying theme in my suggestions for making the office fun is encouraging friendship and camaraderie amongst co-workers. After all, we do spend 40+ hours a week with these folks, why not make the environment a place where people like to come, kick-ass at their jobs and have a little fun at the same time.