Sometimes it pays to lighten up a little. Every organisation has some down time at one point or another. If not, some downtime should be built in - particularly if you have all been working hard - in order to make sure you get some time together with your whole group to relax together and have a little fun. Your morale and spirits will all be boosted by the change of pace.
We had a tradition for awhile in one of my previous organisations: every time we submitted a big bid, we’d order pizza for everyone in the office. When we were a very small company (under 20 people), every big bid usually ended up with everyone working on it to get it out the door, from the accountant to the PhD scientist. Pizza for everyone made sense. We just had to make sure people washed their hands if they were working on the documents!
Once we got bigger, not everyone got involved in the bid preparations, so we stopped the big group pizzas except maybe when we won a big award, and then we’d do something for everyone. But we realised those little gestures of group effort and time for celebration had gone a long way towards pulling us together, so we created a few other activities for us to do in order to keep the bonds across the company in effect.
We had our annual Halloween staff meeting and party of course, where all staff change into costume before the late afternoon live-streamed meeting, and usually hilarity breaks out after a short attempt at trying to conduct a bit of business. We also started a few monthly Friday afternoon activities organised by our staff, in groups by hallway location. Since we tended to mix staff disciplines along the hallways, that ensured there were a variety of functions and skills in each hallway group. Some of the activities included: wine-tasting, where each office of 2-3 people hosted a different wine and we could wander down the hall to sample and learn about the wines; a similar beer-tasting activity; we had a hallway nerf bowling game; and there was a treasure hunt using obscure facts about various staff and company history.
Obviously you can come up with myriad other activities that resonate with your staff, and the point is to do something out of the usual together, and make it all about fun. Even better if you task your staff to come up with the ideas. Make sure there is no work and no hierarchies involved - just enjoy the range of talents and creativity of your staff, and see what fun happens!
5 Things you can do now:
Here are five ways to gather in the next month, with a few suggestions to get your started:
Fun Friday Workplaces