Time for some fun: Use summer spirit to build workplace morale

It’s summer! Time to take life a little less seriously. For many readers, in colder climates especially, summer is a time to party – packed with picnics, vacations and cook outs. I notice that my clients are more cheerful and upbeat.

So why not let some of that sunny disposition filter into your work life? Here are some light-hearted ideas to help you spread the joy of summer:

Commit random acts of kindness.

  • Tell a peer something positive you appreciate about him or her. Then also tell his or her boss. There’s nothing like a heartfelt and unexpected compliment to build camaraderie and trust with a teammate. Then, giving the compliment to their manager gives the compliment extra weight.
  • Stop and talk with one of your quiet co-workers. Some people don’t feel comfortable speaking up in a group setting but that doesn’t mean they want to be separated from the group. Ask your co-worker about their weekend, their children’s summer activities, an upcoming vacation – any breezy conversation will likely be appreciated.
  • Buy something inexpensive but thoughtful for one of your colleagues. One of your teammates may be a chocolate lover – pick up an extra brownie at lunch and put it on his desk. Is someone into cooking? When you’re in the cooking store, buy a special, unusual spice for grilling they may not have. Golf? A package of golf balls with a silly decoration would get a laugh. You can also be on the lookout for events and activities they may be interested in and share the newspaper clipping, or email notification.
  • Have a “walking meeting” with a business partner in another department. Walking is known to create more creative ideas and has the added benefit of being a lot more fun than sitting in the same old conference room.

Have some fun with your team.

  • Give your employees a random surprise – like holding your regular staff meeting at a local ice cream parlor or coffee shop.
  • Have a staff meeting under a tree on the company grounds.
  • Announce that you are giving employees a day off on a day they didn’t expect.
  • Have a cookout at a local park. Everyone picks out of a hat: what to bring and what job they have (flipping burgers, building the fire, setting up games…)
  • Do a community service project – volunteering in a food pantry, cleaning up a roadside, participating in a walk/run charity event. Start by asking your team what they volunteer for in their personal lives, to get some ideas.
  • If someone has a pool (or you belong to a country club with a pool) have a pool party – perhaps you can do some strategic planning in the morning, with fun in the afternoon.
  • Have a golf outing with your team (but make it a scramble so poor golfers can still have fun).
  • Ask members of your team to submit ideas for fun team events and select one per month. That way everyone tries things they may not otherwise experience.

I hope these ideas inspire you to do something a little different this summer. Spreading good will and having fun with your team is an important component to building morale and collegiality. It’s not a waste of time. It will pay off all year long.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee-based executive coach, organizational and leadership development strategist. She has more than 20 years of experience. Email your question to her at info@joanlloyd.com and visit www.JoanLloyd.com to search an archive of more than 1,500 of her articles. You can also contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 354-9500.

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