A manager once told me my paycheck should be all the incentive I need to appreciate my job. Other managers made it clear to me extra pats on the back are unnecessary because bosses shouldn’t need to thank employees for simply doing their jobs. Those arguments may hold some merit but are out of touch with reality and present a poor strategy in retaining top talent. On the other hand, creating a fun office environment must stretch beyond the foosball table. We understand changing a work atmosphere starts with changing work culture, but let us shoot for the stars and pitch some ideas most executives would never consider. But we dare you to run these ideas up the corporate ladder.
- Do The Limbo: This classic inspires smiles from cruise ships to Bar Mitzvahs. All you need is a broom stick from the supplies room. Recommend proper attire to prevent awkward moments when people fall down.
- Trampoline: This won’t thrill the companies’ attorneys, but five minutes bouncing at lunch will make 5pm not seem so far away. Again, recommend proper attire.
- Throw loud things: Few things release frustration more than throwing stuff that lands with a bang. Grab a sample of traditional office supplies, head for that unused office and make the walls fear your arm strength.
- Stickers: Rewarding excellent work with sports or fashion stickers should raise spirits.
- Get dirty: Take off the ties and high heels, find a communal mud hole one Friday afternoon and make puddles.
- Blow bubbles: Bubbles seem to make people happy especially as employees refine their skills and improve drastically at this fun task.
- Bring dogs to work: A co-worker regularly brought his big dogs to work. The canines strutting around led to smiles. Then suddenly he stopped bringing our four-legged friends. The rumor was someone complained to management. Executives may poop on this idea, but they should stuff their excuses into a bag.
- Spin in chair: Lift spirits by asking people to quickly spin co-workers in their chairs. The ensuring laughter and dizziness can help kickstart the day.
- Funny hat day: I sparked several conversations when I started wearing an Indiana Jones-type hat while reporting outside during Arizona summers. Imagine the range of discussions when everyone puts their hats and heads together.
- Limo Ride: For a while, I thought of a way to scale back employee absentees or “mental health days.” When our business is large enough, we look forward to awarding the employee with the fewest absences and a guest a limo ride to an expensive dinner on us. A drawing will break ties in lowest absences.
What are some of your crazy ideas?