In Fun Company
Did you ever think you could be inspired by a biscuit? Well, what if it was THE Biscuit? If you’re not familiar with who I’m talking about, search the 90s files in your memory banks (or just search Google) for the inimitable John Cage, founding partner of Ally McBeal’s law firm Cage and Fish. This shy and reclusive character is the last place we expected to find anything remotely amusing, let alone inspiring. Yet the talented but introverted John regularly found ways to generate creativity and draw confidence at work, mostly by invoking Barry White in the bathroom. To add to the merriment, he often took his coworkers along for the ride. An unusual approach to be sure, but isn’t that where the fun usually begins? And in today’s CRE environment, where the industry has now recognized the importance of creating an experience and culture in the workplace in order to cement tenant loyalty, don’t we owe it to ourselves to have some fun too?
Forbes has written that our brains need passion, play and release at work because they keep us emotionally connected and engaged, all necessary to create the tenant experiences which are now a top priority for CRE. Play also helps promote exploration and allows team members to become totally absorbed in something, which helps to cement employee loyalty as well. Besides, there’s no denying that we do a better job when we work someplace we enjoy. I mean, who doesn’t want to work in a fun environment? And fun breeds happiness. You can’t go wrong with that. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break out into the Macarena in the middle of the office. But even if you’re not ready to dance unabashedly with your coworkers in the bathroom, there are still plenty of ways to begin bringing the basics of fun to your office and your work day.
So how do you get started incorporating fun into a tired work environment? Get inspired by the programs you are hoping to create for your tenants. Need some help? Here’s a list to get you started:
Stock some games or toys in the kitchen or other common spaces – things like koosh balls, stress balls, building blocks or Legos, Jenga, and so on;
Create a comical bulletin board where team members can post cartoons or jokes that pertain to working or being in an office;
Create a bulletin board for inspirational quotes where everyone can post their favorite;
Have pizza Fridays once a month;
Have donut Fridays every week, with a posted list that rotates who brings in the donuts, then eat them together in the kitchen or conference room to start your Friday off right;
Host a quarterly meeting with your team that isn’t at all business related - like a painting class in the conference room or trivia;
Engage in scheduled group exercise such as chair yoga in the office;
Stock a good snack cabinet in the kitchen – it creates a place for people to come together and also offers a quick break from the desk where broader conversations or ideas can begin;
Good old-fashioned pranks – I once took the ball out of my chief engineer’s mouse. That was a good one!
Need more? Survey the peeps in your office for their ideas. This builds comradery and gets everyone involved in the process, which is the first step towards generating a cheerful environment. Bottom line, the more fun you have at work, the more productive everyone will be. This means happier customers too. (And that’s not even a Fishism.) Start out small and over time you’ll surely come up with even more ideas on how to bring fun into your workplace. Who knows, maybe you’ll be performing a line dance together in the bathroom one day after all. Now, if only someone had Robert Downey Jr.’s phone number. He sure makes that line dance look good.
-Laura DeRousse, President | Founder