Do you dream that one day you could work in an atmosphere of camaraderie, lightheartedness and joy? Would it be a miracle if your boss had an informal beer blast in the middle of the afternoon to mark a job well done? Can you imagine your office having an ice-cream social and the managers making and serving ice cream sundaes to thank you for your work. Would you enjoy a free head to toe makeover just for doing your job? At Hewlett Packard, Dow Corning and Merle Norman Cosmetics that is exactly what happens and the employees are loving it!
“Better than money, praise and personal gestures motivate your workers,” says The Wall Street Journal, “Things that don’t cost a lot of money are ironically the most effective.” If you can add a bit of levity to the mix all the better. Co-workers who have fun together, share a laugh, guffaw or chuckle are the same co-workers who will go the extra mile, above and beyond what is expected of them and they’ll do it happily. Why? Because they feel appreciated.
If you pulled into a parking lot of your workplace and found a rock band playing, people swaying to the music and hot dogs and hamburgers grilling for lunch, you would think you were at a party. Nope. You would be at CX-Tec, in Syracuse, New York. Once you walk into the building, a three story dinosaur in the foyer will greet you, instantly telling you, ‘this is a place that encourages fun’. As you continue into the building you find that each employee decorates their cubicle any way they wish. Daily contests give employees $5.00 gasoline cards and gift cards to local cafe’s. Holidays and special events are celebrated with gusto in this lighthearted energetic company. The atmosphere is joyous. Who wouldn’t want to work there?
Do silly things. Be wild. Treat your employees like your friends. If none of this sounds familiar to you, maybe you need to suggest a little fun to your boss and see what happens. The workplace should have an atmosphere where people just can’t wait to get to work in the morning and hate to leave when the day is done. It should be a place where creativity and excitement are rampant. You should hear laughter in the hallways and see miles of smiles in the isles. Create a workplace culture where laughter and silliness encourages productivity, loyalty and longevity.
Here are ideas from some of the most successful companies in the world
- Organise laughter yoga classes during lunch hours. You could also organize these before or after important monthly or quarterly review meetings when the stress levels seem to sky rocket. Attendance should be mandatory.
- Thank you Thursday! Last Thursday of each month have pizza and cake in the break to celebrate any positive occurrence that month
- Hang quirky and humorous posters at the water cooler, printer and outside the restrooms
- Designate a space on company property for an employee veggie garden.
- Encourage employees to play games at lunch and break time. They could play ping pong, volley ball, Nerf basket ball or you could also have some toys like rubik’s cube, slinky or a hula hoop. Playing with these toys at work has also shown to increase creativity and ideation.
- Deliver candy with your office memo
- Have a comedy break room with DVD’s of stand up comics or funny TV shows. You could also organize a movie screening where you play a funny or motivational movie once a month
- Give a bunch of balloons each week to the person with the highest sales
- Monthly employee nights at comedy clubs, restaurants or theaters
- Give gift cards of local cafes and eateries for best weekly performers
- Have a humour board where employees can post jokes or funny pictures. The one contributing the most per week wins a prize.
People want to feel appreciated and to know that they matter. Perks like these show your employees that they matter. It makes them feel that their time at work is valued. But remember, employees will only lighten up as much as they feel they are allowed to at their workplace. So this has to be driven from the top and managers have to set an example by walking the talk. You’ve got nothing to lose and research has found that happier people are just more productive.
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