One of my favorite television shows is The Office. It is one of the most over-the-top, outrageous work environments. When I started at Infinity Concepts I was so excited to learn that this was the show of choice for lunchtime viewing. I looked forward to lunch every day so that I could sit down with my co-workers and laugh. In this situation comedy program, NOTHING seems to ever get done at Dunder Mifflin. They are always in a perpetual state of chaos and confusion. But somehow, at the end of the day, it all comes together and the “big sale” is made.
One thing I appreciate about the show is that the characters know each other. They know how to come together and be a team so that, in the end, they can be effective. I think that’s because they know how to have fun together.
Now, I realize that productivity is a very important part of the workplace. If the work doesn’t get done, then why are we in business? But there definitely needs to be a balance. After all, all work and no play can make the workplace a very dull environment. And often times, that can lead to motivational loss or burn-out.
Creating a work environment that encourages employees to take a break and have fun from time to time fosters a workplace where employees enjoy coming to work and, in turn, are even more committed to the company and to their co-workers. It can encourage a healthy environment where teamwork thrives.
It’s unusual to think that taking time away from work will help employees be more productive, but that’s definitely the case. When employees are dealing with one another on a social level it gives them the opportunity to get to know each other better. It helps employees to realize new ways of interacting with each other based on who they are as individuals. Knowing the people you work with and how to interact with them enables everyone to be more productive.
Events in the workplace also boost morale. No one likes to work in an environment where everyone around them is stressed and negative. Think back to when you were in grade school. Recess was a break from the mundane and a chance to walk away from the stress of a new assignment/lesson. It’s the same with work. Sometimes a break from a task can give you a whole new perspective.
An event can go a long way to change the atmosphere in the office. It can take a negative environment and turn it into a positive one. I am not suggesting recess with your employees every day. However, a planned event once a month or once a quarter can be a great opportunity for employees to get to know each other. And the event doesn’t have to be expensive. One of the things we do each month is Festive Food Friday. We pick a theme and everyone brings a dish for lunch. We have celebrated Hot Dog Month, Hamburger Month, our hometown football team making it to the SuperBowl, Cinco de Mayo, and a number of other fun and wacky themes. It is a chance for everyone, from the leadership on down, to come together and get to know each other on a different level.
An event can be as simple as a pot luck lunch or a cake celebrating an employee’s birthday or as elaborate as a day out of the office to go bowling or play golf. The important thing is that you are creating an environment where teamwork can thrive and your employees can feel connected and valued.