Today is International Fun at Work Day. We’ve tossed out some ideas to spice up the workplace on this special day before, so this time out I want to take a slightly different approach to keeping your small business a fun place to work year around.
I think the ideal work environment is one that is a healthy blend of these attributes:
- The work makes people think and grow.
- The people and systems provide the support employees need to do their jobs well.
- People see that what they do is helping achieve the small business’ goals.
- People enjoy being at work. They smile.
So my advice today is to not relegate “fun” solely to International Fun at Work Day, but to make it a goal all year long. Certainly there are “crunch times” when “fun” takes a back seat to “challenging” and “productive,” but these attributes should find their correct balance in your small business throughout the year.
To help us think bigger than we might otherwise as small business owners, I’ve been collecting some cool perks that various high-tech startups offer their employees. While some of these are budget busters in the small business setting, they should provide us with some inspiration. I’m also including some lower-cost ideas.
Company ski trips. If not a company-wide trip, how about providing season lift passes if you’re in the right location and have employees who hit the slopes regularly? You can find a non-snow equivalent for others folks, or if you’re in a warmer winter area.
Build a climbing wall…or provide another challenging physical activity that’s available every day.
Create a game room. A pool table, Foosball table or some retro video games would be a lot of fun to have around. Having a standard Xbox, Wii or Play Station set up in a common area would be easy to accomplish. And how about some tournaments? Don’t forget board games or card games.
Small business idea: A company that leases retro video games to businesses and rotates them around so a location gets a different machine each month. Hmmm…
Ball pit. Google has a big basket filled with little plastic balls employees can wallow around in. Sounds like fun, sort of.
Free candy! Okay, this might negate some of the healthy stuff we’re promoting here, but what can I say? People love candy.
Event tickets. Is a big game or major concert coming to town? Give away tickets. You can turn this into a regular monthly drawing or contest that could amp up the fun aspect. If so, be sure you do something to limit the number of times one person can win within a certain period of time.
Redecorate. Don’t assume that everyone likes your choice of décor. A small business makeover might be fun and also get you some added employee loyalty.
Movie nights. Cater an evening where employees, families and significant others all get together to enjoy a fun flick. Pop for theater tickets if you can’t pull this off at your workplace.
Start a company team. Small business bowling and softball teams are traditional. How about Ultimate Frisbee, golf or – combining the two – Frisbee golf? Occasional release time for practice would be fun, don’t you think?
The ideas I’ve presented here are designed to generally heighten the level of fun employees have at work and merely by being employed by your small business. Pull off a few of these and it will be International Fun Day for your team almost 365 days a year.