How to Engage Employees: 11 Tips for Making Your Office Fun Again

Group of Multi Ethnic Casual People with their Heads Together Sh
Let’s face it: it was a brutal winter just about everywhere in the US. Coming out of the winter doldrums, especially at the office, is not always easy. But with these 11 tips, you can turn things around and make your office fun again.
1. How’s Your Office Social Committee Doing? Wait. You don’t have one? Well, now’s the time to pull one together. The committee’s quest is simple: create fun events for the office. You don’t need a ton of people on the actual committee itself (three to five should do the trick, depending on the size of your business). The committee members can delegate to other folks in the office when necessary, but, honestly, this shouldn’t be a burden on anyone (remember, it’s supposed to be fun).

What should the committee do? It’s up to you, of course, but here are some guidelines. Your office social committee should…

  • Meet monthly or every other month to plan future events and finalize ones that are just around the corner
  • Get input from people throughout the company on what everyone wants to do
  • Delegate tasks, as needed
  • Manage the budget

About the budget. Yes, the social committee needs one. It doesn’t need to be huge, but someone needs to pay for the pizza and ice cream, right? Provide the committee with a quarterly budget, and revisit the number each quarter to make sure it’s being used, and used properly.

If money is too tight, here’s another idea: hold a bake sale. All funds raised will go to the social committee for event planning.

2. Say Hello to Pizza Parties. Nothing brings people together like a yummy, FREE meal, and pizza makes it easy and fun. Get a bunch of pies, some side salads, water and soda, and you’re all set. This is a great idea for hump day (or any day, really).

3. Don’t Ignore Ice Cream Socials. Yes, we’re on a food kick here, but can you blame us when the food is ice cream? Seriously, nothing brings out the kid in even the crankiest office employee like a make-it-yourself sundae bar. Keep the fixings—like hot fudge, caramel sauce, sprinkles, cherries, and whipped cream—on hand in the office fridge. On the day of the event, send someone out to buy some big containers of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream from a place like Costco or Sam’s Club. Raffle off the leftovers.

This is a perfect event for Friday afternoons, especially as the weather grows warmer. Make it even more social by inviting employees’ families to participate, too.

4. Volunteer Together. You don’t necessarily need to give your employees free stuff, like food, all the time in order to keep them happy. Providing them with the gift of time might be the greatest gift of all. For example, you could offer employees one paid day off a quarter to volunteer somewhere.

Organizing a company-wide volunteer effort is another great idea. Maybe you and your staff spend an afternoon working at the local food bank, for example. Or perhaps your office sponsors and takes part in an annual road race (make sure you outfit everyone on your team in t-shirts with your company’s name and logo). Keeping a bin around during the holidays for Toys for Tots is another way to show employees that you recognize the importance of giving back.

5. Get Everyone OUT of the Office. Remember how much fun field trips were when we were kids? Part of the thrill was simply getting out of school for the day or half-day, right? Your employees will have the same reaction, especially if it’s a surprise field trip. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, either. It could be a trip to the movies, a local museum, or even lunch at the local Chinese food buffet.

6. Celebrate Your Employees. Acknowledging the employees who make a difference in your organization day in and day out is a great way to boost morale, instill loyalty, and encourage good behavior. Have fellow employees make their recommendations each month so that it’s not just management making the decision.

7. Do Friday Shout Outs. Send an email at the end of the workweek to kick off everyone’s weekend calling out people who did something special for your organization this week. It could be customer/work related, but it could also be office related (e.g. cleaning out the fridge in the cafeteria).

8. Acknowledge birthdays. There are many ways to celebrate your employees’ birthdays, including a day off with pay, flowers, cake, an Amazon gift certificate, or a combination of all of the above.

9. Hold “Offsite” Meeting Days. Sometimes the easiest way to re-energize and get people reinvested in the work they’re doing is to take them out of the office. That doesn’t mean work needs to stop. Set up a remote work location for the day, if possible. Or use the day as a prep/training day before important seasons or to kick-off new quarters. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do to lift people’s spirits. (And yes, if your business can afford to do an offsite meeting in a warm location during the winter, even better!)

10. Have “Holiday” Dinners/Lunches. No, we’re not talking the obvious holiday dinner that happens during the month of December (that’s a given). We’re talking about picking an unusual or unknown holiday and having some fun with it, like Arbor Day (the last Friday in April). You could get everyone a little plant for their desk or packet of seeds and then take everyone out to lunch.

11. Deck Out Employees in Company Swag. Nothing makes an employee feel like part of the family than a piece of clothing with his or her name imprinted on the front along with your company logo. Make sure you cover the seasons: get them T-shirts and hoodies. Tote bags are things they can use year-round as well. And yes, Amsterdam Printing can help with all of your custom apparel needs.

No doubt, these are just SOME ideas. We bet you have others, and we want to hear all about them. Share, share in the comments!

Allison Rice

About Allison Rice

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