It doesn’t have to cost a lot to set up an environment of fun and play for your company.
Here are some ideas:
- Celebrations. Celebrate business successes and milestones, personal milestones such as birth of a baby, marathons completed. On the business anniversary hold brand-themed days (even if it’s just wearing the brand colours).
- Themed days. Dress up for national holidays (not just for your nation!) or special occasions, such as St Patrick’s Day or the start of the Olympics. Serve food related to the theme. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top or expensive, just creative.
- Silly dress days. For example set the last Friday of the month as a silly dress day, even if it’s silly ear-rings or crazy socks.
- Fun decor. Encourage creative, fun decoration of workspaces, putting things there that lighten their days.
- Ice cream parties. Throw random ice cream parties. Add balloons and noisemakers.
- Encourage joke-telling. Maybe even start official meetings with the telling of a joke. Put up a board for people to post their favourite jokes or cartoons.
- Toys. Have a ready supply of noisemakers or nerf guns or gag joke toys or huge Angry Birds toys. Visit the toy store and look for things which could add some elements of fun.
- Birthdays. Present gag gifts.
- Mini-golf. Play mini-golf in the office hallways.
- Music. Announce the start of meetings with silly or motivational music. Play “The Final Countdown” at the end of an agile sprint, or “The Eye of the Tiger” to announce a meeting.
- Random lunches. Throw random lunches, such as with pizza or sandwiches, where everyone, including management, takes time out to chat.
- Contests. Award the best themed costume. Hold a baking contest: see who can bake the best cake. See who can make the best paper airplane.
- Fun pass. Reward employees with a pass to have fun by _________.
- Room names. Think of silly names for the meeting rooms.
Then there are the more simple things, such as spending a few minutes at the start of Monday to catch up on the weekend’s happenings.
Make the whole environment positive. That may mean changing the music being played in the restrooms. Or adding photos of employees having fun around the walls of the office. Adding colour to the office stimulates creativity (get rid of those neutral walls and colours).
Encourage employees to find their own style of fun – not everyone has to be the same!
Let customers know that you are a fun company, too, and see how you can extend that to dealings with customers or suppliers.
Find out what would be of value to your employees, how they would like to add fun to the work environment.
Commit to fun, to a sense of humour, and look for ways to exercise it at any time. Work towards it, and bit by bit the fun environment will develop.