Sitting behind a desk all day isn’t just bad for your health—and your back—it’s also incredibly demotivating. Some companies have recognized this by creating a healthy workplace that implements playful activities and encourages staff to have fun. Not only does it enhance creativity, but an enjoyable office space boosts productivity, too. Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, told Fox News that play can lower stress levels; boost optimism; increase motivation, concentration and perseverance; and provide a joyful atmosphere. “All sorts of creative new connections are made when you’re playing that otherwise would never be made,” he said. So what do you do if your employer hasn’t cottoned on to the fun-workplace concept yet? Well, there are plenty of ways you can inject a sense of fun and start to feel inspired at work again. Scroll down for a few of our ideas.
Create a lunch club.
One of the best ways to bond with your co-workers is over food. Eating is universal; we all have to do it, which means we’ll always make time for it. This is why I love the idea of a lunch club. Here’s how it works. Organize a group of colleagues who want to join the club, and each day (or once a month, or every fortnight, depending on your schedule), assign four people to bring a plate or make something delicious to share. Just make sure each person tells you what she’s bringing in so there’s enough food to cover everyone in the group. This is a great way to meet new hires and make new connections, swap ideas, and just connect.
Go for a walk with a colleague.
There’s nothing like fresh air and a spot of sunshine to reinvigorate your mind. Just getting out of your chair for a few minutes at a time can clear your head and get the ideas racing again. But don’t take our word for it: A study by Stanford researchers found walking indoors or outdoors “boosted creative inspiration.” Besides, just the idea of caffeine and conversation is enough to get me stimulated again.
Make your desk feel like home.
Just like you wouldn’t leave your living room bare when you move into a new home, your office or cube deserves the same attention. So if you’re reading this at a space that’s devoid of personality, get decorating, girl, because a pretty desk is a productive one. Stick up pictures of your family, friends, mementos from recent travels, sentimental pieces, and decorative objects that say something about you and make you feel right at home (at work!). Buy a cute corkboard and pin all your favorites—even favorite emails or work you feel proud of. It’s a great motivator.
Start “happiness” traditions with your workmates.
Often, it’s the little things that make people feel special and put a smile on their faces. Just a simple act of kindness can really brighten a teammate's day and boost team morale. That’s why I love the “happiness” tradition so much. The concept was born when my amazing colleagues came back from their quick café break with a delicious iced latte for me. I didn’t ask for one; they just wanted to surprise me. Now it’s become a bit of a ritual, but it doesn’t have to be coffee. It can be anything you want, a little something you can gift to someone that will lift their spirits and bring a lighthearted attitude to your workspace.
Share your talents with the team.
Look around you; how much do you really know about your colleagues and their professional history? You probably never have time to ask because you’re so busy, but it’s time you made the most of this inspiring team you work alongside every day. Create a speaker series once a month where you nominate a colleague to teach the team about something in their field, a new idea, or interesting concept from a previous role that could cross over and streamline processes. Sharing talents will incite confidence, inspire and challenge everyone to push their creative limits, and serve as a powerful team-building exercise.
Start a networking gang.
I have been invited to some incredible events and swapped business cards with some inspiring ladies, but aside from a few emails back and forth, I rarely get to physically catch up with them after that initial meeting. In this digital age, face-to-face contact in a fun, social setting is more crucial than ever in establishing those contacts long-term. So in an effort to change this, my colleagues and I set up a friendly dinner with one of our top PR contacts; and it was so much fun. We all connected on a personal and professional level, reinforcing our relationship and inspiring new conversations about life, work, and challenges we’re facing. We all came to work the next day so invigorated with some great ideas we couldn’t wait to get started on. Now we are going to make it a monthly ritual and invite new people each time.
It's time to make your workplace a fun space to be—shop some of our top books to inspire new ideas.
How do you make the workplace fun? What keeps you motivated? Let us know in the comments.