It doesn’t need the input of the boss to make work fun. There’s a lot that employees can do themselves.
Some ideas can be found on our page Make work fun ideas. Other ideas need help from management.
Here are some…
Smile more. Your staff are quite likely to take a lead from you. If you look miserable, it is hard to expect them to be jolly. Try smiling. It will make you feel better, and it may help to make them feel better – “smile, and the whole world smiles with you”.
Thank people more. It is easy to take a good job well done for granted. Don’t. Thank people when they do you a favour. Thank people when they do a good job. Thank people if they work late. Thank them if they make your life easier.
Reward goodness. If you are trying to build and develop teams, there is no point in rewarding individuals who succeed at the cost of others. Make sure that your reward structures promote the kind of behaviour that you need to develop your teams.
Discourage bullying. Most surveys show that bullying in the workplace is rife. Do not engage in it yourself, and discourage others. Provide staff with assertiveness training so that they are better equipped to deal with bullies themselves.
Staff training. Your staff will be uncomfortable if they are asked to do things for which they do not feel equipped. Make sure that they have the skills training they need to do their jobs. Do your best to make the training fun. There are some excellent training films that use comedy to make their points.
Remember birthdays. If you are in a small organisation, or a small team, a good way of recognising the contribution of individuals is to recognise their birthdays. A card may be enough, or you could buy cakes (see Make work fun ideas).
Provide treats. Occasionally you could buy cakes for your staff for no reason other than that you work with them and appreciate them feeling good. Join them for tea or coffee, but don’t take up all of their break – they may have things to talk about but are inhibited in doing so while you are there.
Magical mystery tour. There are not many left in the workplace who can remember the fun that used to be had on mystery tours in a charabanc (we call them coaches nowadays) – try asking great-grandma about them. Why not organise a mystery outing? This could be a trip for families to the seaside; a trip to an open-air museum such as Beamish, Ironbridge, or the Ulster Folk Museum; or a trip to an amusement park such as Legoland or Alton Towers. Depending on your group, you could go for something cultural or educational such as a National Trust property, or a guided walk at a noted beauty spot such as the Malvern hills or the Peak District. The trip doesn’t have to be a mystery, nor need it cost the earth.
Girls’ night out. If there is a theatre relatively near, why not scan their programme? There may be something like Menopause the musical or an Abba concert which your team would enjoy. Organise a coach, and do a deal with the theatre to provide discounted tickets and refreshments during the interval. Most theatres are happy to make special arrangements for groups. You could do something similar for the blokes. They might appreciate a comedian, or if they are a cultured lot, a classical concert.
A night at the opera. The same idea will work for everyone if there is a show with popular appeal (such as a musical like Singing in the Rain), or something special like an opera that your staff would consider to be a treat although they might not go to on their own.
Staff parties. You might hold a Christmas party, or for something different, a Chinese New Year party. If you think that the start and end of the year is too busy, then there are lots of ideas for themed parties you could hold at any time of the year.