This January 29th is “National Fun at Work Day.” A lot of you took note of our silly-on-purpose recommendations last year. This year, we acknowledge life and work don’t feel very fun right now. We are faced with what is likely the most anti-fun government administration in history. Don’t let that get you down and stop you from perking up your day at the office with some fun! Fun is a gift we can give others during times of uncertainty.
This year we are giving you one of our favorite Organizational Improv activities to help you celebrate “National Fun at Work Day”. Not only is it fun, but it also has the added bonus of demonstrating valuable lessons about teamwork and collaboration in the work place.
Depending on the number of people in your team and how long you want to take with Part 2, this activity will take about 20 minutes and will get the day off to a fun and creative start.
Part 1 – Silent Drawing in Pairs:
- Within your group, everyone picks a partner.
- Give each pair one piece of blank white paper and 1 marker pen (Pro Tip: Choose Sharpie-style markers over ballpoint pens)
- Both members of each pair hold their single marker pen.
- Each team spends 1-2 minutes silently drawing “what they think creativity is”, without lifting the marker or stopping—the act of drawing should be super fluid and continuous. The goal here is that no one is directing, leading, or following; it’s a seamless, organic drawing of something on the paper. (Pro Tip: Choose any prompt you want! For example, if your team is struggling with organizational change at this moment, then switch the prompt to be “draw what you think change is.”)
Part 2 – Improv Presentations:
- Use the remaining time you have to give each pair 2-5 minutes to come up to the front and present (with no preparation!) their artwork as if they were a museum director giving a tour of an exhibit to a wealthy potential donor. (Pro Tip: Have a couple of artsy scarves or berets on hand for each pair to don as they present their artwork. We love props – they help you get in to character!)
- The facilitator can stimulate the fun by acting like an overly sophisticated art critic and asking probing questions. After the first couple of pairs go and you’ve modeled it, encourage the audience to also chime in with questions for the pairs.
- Pro Tip: Great faux artsy questions to ask presenting pairs include:
- “What were the artists experiencing in their lives when they created this piece?”
- “What is the title of this piece?”
- “What is the artist focusing on next?”
- “What is the meaning of the dominant use of [color of their marker]?”
- “What influenced the artists during the creation of this work?”
This Organizational Improv activity has the benefit of being fun and is fast to execute. More importantly, there are also some great lessons for teamwork and collaboration that arise without you even trying. For example, one client at a large e-commerce company in Seattle said this exercise was valuable for her team because it taught them how to collaborate more effectively, to think on the fly, and to share focus. It also helped them prepare for when they work on projects over which they don’t have individual control but then have to defend the final product as a team.
We’d love to see your collaborative art! Tweet us at @mindhatchllc with your team’s creations and the titles given to them (tag #NationalFunAtWorkDay and #Hatched) so we can all enjoy each other’s attempts to have fun at work this Friday.
With any luck, National Fun at Work Day will still be legal next January!