Hi, everyone. 

I hope you are all well, and excited for the holiday season ahead. The Christmas/New Year break is an ideal time to think about something that has been sadly missing in many organisations these past couple of years: having fun at work. 

Whether for its positive physiological or psychological benefits, enjoying work more is something every employee and manager should aspire to do. 

I'm sure most of you have had, or are about to have, a great time at your annual work Christmas gathering, but I am talking more about everyday opportunities to create a better workplace environment for yourselves and your colleagues.

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Recognise milestones and achievements, big and small. Managers, get out of your offices, observe the good things your team members are doing and acknowledge them with a thank-you. Be specific about what you've seen. You could put your appreciation of their efforts in writing, or do something special to show your gratitude. Remember, too, to acknowledge staff birthdays and anniversaries. 
  • Create organised fun, but not forced fun. Look for opportunities for your people to enjoy time together but do not make it mandatory to participate, keeping in mind that people have different ideas about what constitutes fun. Organising fun activities does not mean you have to pay for everything. You might be able to negotiate a discount, or just create or schedule the space or place for your team to get together. 
  • Create moments for your people to cut loose and get silly – I mean really silly. Develop outings with wacky themes, sporting events with a ridiculous slate of activities, and challenges for departments or teams to get creative. 
  • Let families get involved. Extending the fun to whānau can help to build a stronger and more-connected workplace culture. When your team members get to show off to their families what they do, it helps to build understanding for those occasions when staff have to work longer hours. 
  • Go offsite for staff social gatherings – and don’t think these always need to be after hours. Many people have family responsibilities, so attending events at night is not always easy. Instead of a dinner, think about organising a lunch, which enables them to be home in time for tea. 
  • Speaking of lunch, laying on food and drinks has been proven to build a sense of teamwork and family, so put thought and effort into what you offer. 
  • Make your social media social. Too many internal community pages, and even external ones, focus solely on business and what gets done. Focus more on how things get done, which hopefully includes all the things we have talked about in terms of having fun. Showcase your team working, brainstorming, and collaborating, and don’t forget to show them enjoying themselves. 

Have a relaxing break, drive safely, and we will see you all again in 2023.