10 Ways To Make Your Office More Fun
Office dog

"When you're in a job that you enjoy and you're good at, you're not just a better worker. You're a better spouse, a better parent, a better citizen," Kenexa CEO Rudy Karsan once told us.

Know that happy hours are part of the office culture

We can have fun outside of the office, right?

Communal lunch

Why not eat together, and get to know each other in the process? You might discover a new food, or, you know, introduce yourself to somebody new. Just make sure you're not eating any of these productivity-killing foods.

Decorate your office!

Just because it's an office, doesn't mean it has to be an office. When you spend such a significant amount of time in one space, it's important that it reflects not only the culture of the company, but the people who make it run.

Group exercise

Albany, New York-based media company Overit takes a two-minute exercise break every hour, on the hour, for its employees to exercise.

That one weird thing that no other office has

If you don't have Monopoly-themed conference rooms (we're just bragging now), it's time to do something creative.

A good snack stash

This keeps people really happy, because they don't have to constantly run out of the office if they want a quick bite.

Games

Need to take a break to recharge? Maybe play a board game or ping-pong, or, in Fast Company's case, embarrass yourself in a game of office-wide Jeopardy.

Pranks

Not only is it hilarious if done well, but your victim will know that they've been missed, and appreciate it.

Barista

10 Ways To Make Your Office More Fun

Is your office sort of blah? Are your coworkers disengaged? Fear not, we've got some quick productivity-boosting fixes so fun that you'll forget you ever wanted to go home three hours ago.

We feel like we've been a little harsh lately. So, like, mea culpa.

Recently we've told you what not to wear to the office in the summer and the productivity-killing (smelly) lunches that you should never bring into the workplace. Sorry for the tough love, be we felt like everyone could benefit from the reminders.

Today, however, let's not focus on the negative, and instead let's talk about fun. You want to work in a fun environment. Of course you do. Who doesn't?

Just listen to Kenexa, a Pennsylvanian human resources software company that lives by a simple principle: Employees just want to have fun.

And that fun doesn't result simply in smiles and laughs—it brings a tangible increase in workplace happiness and productivity. A more enjoyable workplace makes individuals perform better, in almost every aspect of their lives.

According to Kenexa, turnover among managers who feel pride in their company is 21% lower than among those who don't. Adds the Kenyan-born, Canadian-educated CEO Rudy Karsan: "When you're in a job that you enjoy and you're good at, you're not just a better worker. You're a better spouse, a better parent, a better citizen.

So, in the spirit of pleasant workplaces everywhere, here's a compilation of fast and fun things you can do to put a smile on your coworkers' faces—and boost productivity.

Office dog

It's no secret that we want an office dog at Fast Company. So far, this Pinterest board is as close as we've gotten. Meanwhile, we've written about this culture-enhancing canine desire in two previous posts, and Purina even made a video in an attempt to push us over the edge.

Office dogs can offer a huge boost to business and teach you how to work better. And let's be honest, they just make everybody happy.

Know that happy hours are part of the culture

We can have fun outside of the office, right?

Grabbing a few drinks after work is a great way to boost morale, and bring your team together around things that are, well, not work.

Just don't overdo it.

Communal Lunch

Everybody eats, so why not eat together, and get to know each other in the process?

You might discover a new food, or, you know, introduce yourself to somebody new.

Again, Just make sure you're not eating these foods.

Decorate your office!

What's that, not everybody like white walls, white ceilings, and soulless lighting?

Just because it's an office, doesn't mean it has to be an office. When you spend such a significant amount of time in one space, it's important that it reflects not only the culture of the company, but the people who make it run. (Related: Sometimes it's best to take meetings outside the office.

A nice work environement might even convince you to—gasp—look forward to work!

Group Exercise

Albany-based media company Overit takes a two-minute break every hour, on the hour, for its employees to exercise.

The benefits of such a program are manifold, says Overit's Jen Graybeal. “We’ve seen a big difference not just in terms of the way we look but the way we feel,” she says.

If you're not up for jumping jacks in the workplace, yoga and meditation are wonderful alternatives—both provide excellent health benefits and can revive you for your workday.

Or, you know, you could throw a dance party—at noon.

That one weird thing that no other office has

A few weeks ago, we asked for and shared the quirks make your (and our) office great. Every office has some fun feature that you can't really find anywhere else. It's probably unique, personal, and gives you a sense of ownership—like you're in a secret club or something.

So, if you don't have Monopoly-themed conference rooms (we're just bragging now), it's time to do something creative.

A good snack stash

Stocking a snack drawer is cheap, and creates a focal point for conversation in the office. It also keeps people really happy, because they don't have to constantly run out of the office if they want a bite to eat.

Play games and have fun

Need to take a break to recharge? Maybe play a boardgame or ping-pong, or, in Fast Company's case, embarrass yourself in a game of office-wide Jeopardy.

Pranks

Like any good team member, you know that when a someone goes on an extended vacation, you have one responsibility: Prank them.

Not only is it hilarious if done well, but your victim will know that they've been missed, and appreciate it.

In-house Barista

At Square, employees can not only take free classes on beer brewing and how to build terrariums, but also have access to an office barista. That's right, there's a barista in the office.

We have a smile on our face just thinking about it.

And with that, there's only one more thing left (for you) to say:

"Hey boss, you should check out this really smart article I just found."

Okay, two things: Tell us about the ways you make your office more fun in the comments below!

[Image: Flickr user Florian Boyd]

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22 Comments

  • Ramona Aragon

    We have 10:30 two minute planks everyday, we turn up the music and get the blood flowing, We also have walk on Wednesday, we get out of the office and walk around from 15 to 30 minutes and lastly we do Fresh Fruit Fridays, each person in the office rotates bringing in what is in season.

  • M-E

    Some of these are great others stupid and dangerous.  I am completely against the happy hour one.  All I need is sit at a bar with an employee who has half a beer, be in an accident and become negligently responsible for it.  Sorry that is just plain stupid suggestion with Dram shop. Host a lunch a dinner or even an alfresco is great. 

    Pranks are out as well.  YOU NEVER KNOW HOW THE RECIPIENT WILL RECEIVE THE JOKE.  The last joke I recall lead to HR being involved in a complaint against an entire department and the demotion of a manager. Also, if you are not being paid as a comedian watch your jokes.

  • HopeJoyShalom

    I have always had a punching bag in my office area. I would tell people it’s better to come to HR to punch the bag instead of their boss, a wall or anything other object. People loved to come down to HR and use the punching bag (it was a child’s bag with the sand in the bottom and a super hero face). I had one person who would bring a picture of their boss and tape it to the bag. The person would get out all of their frustrations, tell me that’s all they wanted to do and go back to their office felling so much better.

    We also had a resting room. All of the items in the room were donated by employees: a couch, a lamp, a cd player, cd’s or bring your own, etc. Employees could go into the room and rest. We had our once a month message therapist provide messages in the room (employees paid the reduced rate) in this low lite room with music playing. It was a hit.

    I got unused bookcases from the company and put then in a hallway with books. I called it the lending library. Employees were encouraged to take and give books, tapes, videos, cd’s etc to the library. 

    We started a give and take trunk for employees. It started when one employee could not afford to meet the dress code which was already casual. I got a truck and put some items in the truck. I was called the keep charity at home truck - Give and Take. It was a great hit.

    We had “Just Because Days” for the employees. We would get pizza’s and soda and serve lunch or let people wear jeans on a Wednesday - Just Because We Think You Are Great, Just Because We Want To Thank You, Just Because!

    These were just some of the different things we did to make work different, unique, helpful and special.

  • Bouzoukisis

    We decorate our office by season.....Water fountains, a fake fish tank, (run by battery, dead fish not good in a pediatric office....lol...)...At Christmas I made little angels and put all the girls faces on them, and the guys, were ginger bread men....Another year I bought miniature picture frames, and hung everyone's picture on the "Holiday tree"....Laughter is the best medicine for a hectic office...That and actually caring for the people you work with......

  • Altadel

    Dog? No. You want a dog at work, talk the boss into allowing you to telecommute from home

    Pranks? If I came back from vacation and had to waste an hour taking foil off everything, I wouldn't: I'd take my laptop and phone somewhere until the office idiot who went to the trouble undid the prank.

  • Laura Finlayson

    There have been a bunch iof studies about the positive impact if dogs in the workplace. Benefits include increased productivity, and improved morale; don't be so quick to judge this concept.

  • ronane72

    Tristan: Seriously!! Miles' comments are really snotty and very, very poorly written. Not all ideas will work in all environments. Just like Miles would never make it at our company with his complete lack of a sense of humor.

  • Agusfield

    We have garden and herb beds. Employees volunteered to water them and now they compete as to whose is better. Accountants need to get outside once and awhile. They are the best volunteers

  • jward

    Rubber band wars...not with the little ones. Use the big ones. Shoot them like missles up and over the cube walls.

  • Jennifer Bentzel

    We have a very scattered team so we have a "cloud-based" office:) I found a great app called Anchor that we use to inject humor and tidbits about our personal lives into the day. It helps us build team morale and camaraderie. I would love to have an office dog but I don't see that happening. 

  • SonOfLiberty1776

    And none of your 10 fun things are done in the Kenexa now IBM offices. 

  • redmike

    Oh hell no on the office dog.  I've worked in an office with a dog in it before and I would consider this a hostile workplace.  If you can bring your stinking, slobbering dog to the office, then smoking and sexual harassment should be allowed as well.

  • Rebekah

    We don't have an office dog, but we do have office fish. They started out as part of a prank but have become beloved by employees and customers alike.

  • Olivier

    Fun thing to see in Japan, the "Nomikai" (飲み会) ; litterally "Drinking meetings", are so much part of the corporate culture, that nowadays workers seem to not wanna go anymore, as they associate it with work, and not fun anymore. (This, and so many other reasons such as, financial crisis limiting the monthly pocket money men get from their wifes; women having to navigate with hability between unwanted sollicitations from drunk bosses... ) 

    The golden days of Nomunication (I.e corporate internal communication around a drink) seem far away!

  • Jason

    My wife and I work together, and have USB-controlled foam missile launchers we can aim with our keyboards. If I need her attention, and feel froggy, I launch a barrage of soft foam projectiles her way. That and our mascot, the Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head keeps watch and makes sure we don't have too much fun that it interferes with our work.

  • Jessica Lalau

    Great list! Super excited to see that here at PostcardMania, we have literally EVERY part of this list (several times over where the office dog is concerned), but one awesome asset we've got here that isn't on the list is an office masseuse! She comes around and de-stresses us, massage-style. She's a dream. A DREAM.