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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
Slideshow Credits: 02 / Flickr user Tobias Scheck; 03 / Flickr user Kizzzbeth; 04 / Flickr user Frumbert; 05 / Flickr user Jake Sutton; 06 / Flickr user Lululemon Athletica; 07 / Flickr user Marc van der Chijs; 08 / Flickr user Steven Guzzardi; 09 / Watson on Jeopardy | AP Images; 10 / Flickr user Abigail Batchelder; 11 / Flickr user David Sifry;