Summer Bucket List: Infuse Fun into Work

August 30, 2015


Have you ever heard someone refer to themselves as a POW (Prisoner of Work)? Aside from the stark contrast in connotation that the actual use of that term implies, you still have to wonder why someone would continue to subject him or herself to a job that he or she only views as a day-to-day drudgery. Sure, we’re all forced to worship at the idol of the almighty dollar, and that’s what helps us deal with the challenges of our careers. Yet that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy doing so. If you’re a manager or executive, consider this summer your chance to finally help your employees have fun at work. With summer coming to a close, it's time to make sure you've checked everything off your summer bucket list.

Creating the Ideal Atmosphere for Office Fun

Before you start ordering balloons or organizing a book club, remember this: no one likes to feel like they’re being forced to interact. The moment your employees start to feel as though you’re trying to regulate fun is the moment they stop having it. True office enjoyment is something that happens naturally and spontaneously. There are, however, a few things you can do to help provide those moments:

  1. Establish an atmosphere of trust: The biggest roadblock to getting people to open up is a lack of trust. It’s not that they don’t trust you in particular; it’s that they don’t trust in yours and your other co-workers’ capacity to accept them for who they are outside of work. Getting colleagues to feel comfortable about being themselves can’t be done in a cold, rigid work environment. There has to be an understanding that, every now and then, it’s OK to throw standard office etiquette out the window and act normally, even if that might involve a little bit of irreverence.
  2. Encourage planning and participation: Each of your coworkers and employees may have a different idea when it comes to achieving the ultimate work life balance. Thus, it’s important that mutual respect exists amongst your staff in order for people to feel comfortable sharing their interests with each other. You can help develop such an attitude in your office by encouraging each employee to plan an activity that he or she enjoys in order to share a little bit more of his or her personality with the group.
  3. Create your own office summer bucket list: Once you have everyone in the office on board, take those activities that your employees have planned and complete a summer bucket list. Offer incentives for participation in activities and/or completion of challenges issued before the fall in order guarantee involvement. By channeling a collective effort towards a shared, non-work-related goal, you empower employees to work better together in the execution of their job duties.

Turning your office into a place where your colleagues actually enjoy coming back to isn’t all that difficult. The key is avoiding the appearance of forced fun. Once you’ve developed an atmosphere or trust and mutual respect amongst your staff, getting them to open up and participate in office activities is easy. Make this your office’s official Summer of Love.

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