If you’re going to be stuck in an office for at least 40 hours a week with a group of people, you should try to have fun, if and when you can. The more fun you have with the people you work with, the better morale is likely to be. Which should, in theory, improve overall performance.
Here are a few things you may be able to do or institute in your office to improve the morale, even if it’s just a tiny bit:
- Every Friday at the end of your workday, unplug your headphones, turn the sound all the way up, and put on either Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” or Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.” Then scream “I ain’t gotta be me ‘til Monday, y’all!” and sprint out of the office and into your weekend. Ensure you have a person at the office who will turn off the song and shut your computer down for you, or else people will simply find this annoying. (In fact, people may find this annoying anyway, but whatever. They’re just anti-fun.) When you’re doing this before a long weekend, be sure to bellow “See you next Tuesday!” as you make your grand exit. This is something others can do and really make their own, adding an element of fun to the office that also promotes personal taste and individuality.
- Give out a lot of high-fives. And make sure they’re quality high-fives. If, say, you’re walking down the hall and your friend Billy is walking toward you, offer one up top. If you and Billy don’t get the appropriate contact for the sound that you’re striving for, stop walking, turn around, and repeat the high-five until satisfaction. This will bring you closer with your coworkers by creating a “we’re in this together” team vibe. There are no limitations to this. Before long, you’ll consistently be getting the right sound on the first try. After that, feel free to add new elements to your friendly gestures. I mean, go crazy – make a secret handshake if you want to.
- I’m sure it has never occurred to many people that at your job, you actually get paid to hit the head. Think about it. You don’t punch out every time you take a bathroom break. So, for one week, monitor how much time you spend in the restroom, and then average this time out for the rest of the year. Calculate how much money you are making to sit in the restroom. This is mostly an individual spirit booster, but a good one nonetheless. The next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, just think about how you got paid to take one.
- If your office is dog friendly, you can disregard this one because you’re of the chosen bunch, and maybe you work on the Google Campus with Yoshka. If you don’t have dogs in the office, however, find a taxidermied one that you can put near or on your desk. Give him or her a name, and treat him or her like a real dog. Trust me, I have a fake office dog myself. No cats please. No one likes stuffed cats in the office.
- Incorporate harmless office pranks into your office (just like Brad Pitt and George Clooney!) This can improve morale because it gives people a break from the day-to-day monotony, and it also promotes a higher level of concentration and awareness. People are less likely to take a nap at their desk if there’s a chance that a person is going to draw balls all over his or her face. (A favorite of mine is to Axe bomb a person’s office while they’re out at lunch. Ladies love Axe.)
- Hold weekly water-chugging contests. People don’t drink enough water, the benefits of which are extensive and include enhanced productivity.
- Every once in a while, set up a white board in the office where people can write down jobs that are worse than the ones you all are doing. It’s important to keep perspective and to count your blessings.
- Every month, hold a whack special clothing day. Like Onesie Wednesday or Canadian Tuxedo Friday or Stars and Stripes the Day Before Saturday. This is a two-pronged morale booster: People get to express their sartorial individuality while participating in a themed team bonding event, and if clients or outsiders happen into your office on this day, they will marvel at your company’s ability to deliver quality work while also employing a playful side.
- Try to get your bosses to allow drinking at work after a certain hour, when it is appropriate. I find that sometimes I function a little bit better after a long day of work when I have a few drinks in me. In fact, I’m hammered right now and think this article is coming along pretty nicely.
- Organize a fantasy tournament for the people in your office. Or a March Madness bracket challenge. Anything that will give coworkers something to talk about that has absolutely nothing to do with work. I think fantasy sports were invented because regular sports just weren’t escapist enough for us anymore.
- Be courteous to the people you work with and the space in which you work. Do your dishes. Don’t steal other peoples’ food. Don’t sing A Capella all day long unless you have your own private office. And, for the love of god, refill the Keurig reservoir when you use the last of the water.