The holiday gods have deemed Thursday, January 28 National Have Fun At Work Day! While we at Mindhatch aren’t always fans of enforced or overly structured fun, we definitely support the science behind how having fun at work (particularly through using humor) can make all sorts of terrible workplace outcomes better. So here is our list of ways to inspire, encourage, and implement some semi-organic fun at work on January 28:
- Have a competition for which team can find the funniest YouTube video. You can even create silly constraints around the videos, like they have to feature at least two animals in them, or they have to be in a language other than English, or they have to feature someone famous. Give each team one hour to find their top pick and submit it. Get everyone in a room, watch the submissions, and then vote! Be sure you have a prize ready to give to the winning team.
- Start every meeting or one-on-one conversation with a quick improv game. We humbly recommend this one.
- Every time someone on your team complains about something, do a somersault. We dare you to make it as adorable as this:
- Have a birthday cake, even (especially) if it’s no one’s birthday that day. Get candles (the more the sillier, and the sillier the better), hats, the whole shebang and sing “Happy Birthday to Fun.”
- Have a silly raffle prize. Have people donate silly but kind things they will do for the winners that day, like “get you coffee refills” or “make you a piece of art using only Post-It Notes and paper clips” or “call your Mom and let her know how you are doing.” Sell the raffle tickets, choose a ton of winners, and donate the money to a charity that everyone in the office supports.
- Have puppies delivered to the office. Did you know you can do that??? We are seriously pro-puppy. Do this.
- Hire a DJ for a mid-afternoon dance party. So much more fun and energizing than that desperate rush to the nearest coffee shop at 3:30pm for a caffeine pick-me-up and a donut.
- Go for a classic, office-wide, single-elimination staring contest. You can find the actual rules of this sport here. You can get some fun – if not always office appropriate – ideas to defeat your competitors here (start at 1:40).
- Hold an epic Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. Gather everyone in the conference room or outside and make them go head-to-head in pairs simultaneously. Each time someone loses a game, they have to join the nearest winner and join their “hype team” and yell and cheer like crazy while that person competes with the next nearest winner. Repeat this a few times and in just a few minutes you’ll have a final match-up between two colleagues who each have their own loudly supportive team behind them. The ultimate winner gets everyone on their hype team!
Encourage fun silliness like this often enough and we won’t even need National “Have Fun At Work Day” in the future!
Coonoor Behal is Founder & CEO of Mindhatch, an organizational and customer insights firm that merges business and creativity through design thinking innovation, organizational improv, and creative facilitation.
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