Monday, June 22, 2009

Girls and Boys Just Wanna Have Fun (at Work)

Sure it's a time of tightened belts and even tighter fists at the workplace, but employees still need a bit of stress relief now and then. With budgets for these kinds of initiatives having gone the way of the dinosaurs in many organizations, how can a clever manager give her team some R&R at no or low cost? We've been collecting some of the interesting ideas we have been hearing about and thought they were worth sharing.
Variations on the old standbys are popular: While entertainment in the good old days might have meant a name brand concert for the techies working on cutting edge software, today's version is more like an American Idol production using your organization's own talent. The Wii is another source of do-it-yourself team fun, and game nights---or lunches--featuring favorite board games--Pictionary, anyone?--have also gotten some juices flowing.

Probably the most popular staff kick-back activity is still eating. And while most budgets are not scaled for banquets or open bars, some managers are doing well with iron chef competitions featuring teams from several departments cooking and colleagues cheering (and, ultimately, tasting) the culinary exploits of their buddies. Staff hobbyists---from beer brewers to confectioners--can also be enlisted as experts when their interests have appeal: chocolate tasting, anyone?
Once upon a time, one of our clients had a "fun team"...a bevy of employees who were charged with keeping staff morale high and organizational loyalty even higher. It is certainly not a time for assigning scarce resources to such a venture, but the wise manager and organization will recognize the need to give employees ways to bond and blow off steam together. We'd love to hear your best ideas for good, cheap fun.

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