Making work fun

Can you suggest some simple and inexpensive ways to make the workplace more fun and to reward employees?


  • 28 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Have a lunch potluck where your team members can bring in their families.

    Send employees birthday cards.

     Allow employees to work flexible hours.

    Make community connections to offer discounts to employees.

    Have a casual day at work.

    Have breakfast meetings rather than dinner meetings.

    Give employees paid time off for community services.

     Cut down on the number of meetings and keep them short.

     Allow people to bring pets to work one day.

  • At our company we have bike riding outings after work, send employees letters of commendation and birthday cards to their homes, have a cookie day and a pie day every year where employees bring in the sweets and there is a contest for the best, have a team lunch every couple of months, bring donuts to morning meetings. Little things like this can go a long way.
  • How about providing employees with more comfortable chairs giving employees with excellent attendance a day off. We also allow our employees to work at home once in a while. We also throw all our company parties and picnics during work hours so employee keep their evenings and weekends to themselves.
  • A good reference I found is the book, 99 Ways to Keep Employees Happy, Satisifed, Motivated and Productive. It has some good ideas that are simple and inexpensive.  You can order through the BLR website; I know because I got a copy for a colleague as a present.
  • Another good resource is 151 Quick Ideas to Recognize and Reward Employees by Ken Lloyd.
  • All previous suggestions are good and can really make a difference. It also helps  to create an atmosphere, by the formal and informal leadership, which promotes a sense of well being and "fun".  This is possible by personal contact, the ability to laugh at the things that are funny without demeaning others and through general behavior that says all employees are truly important. A round to offices to say good morning can make a big difference, especially if the names of employees are remembered! 

  • I am partial to the community volunteer projects, gift holiday drives and troop donations that everyone can participate in. It is fun to see what everyone can do together and gives everyone a shared sense of purpose.
  • In hopes of making the workplace a little more fun, we're thinking about allowing radios on assembly lines in our plant to help break up the day for workers.  Individual ipods or radios with earbuds are out because of safety reasons.  We know we'll need to establish limits on the kinds of stations (no foul language programs, etc.).  Any ideas on what to avoid/possible problems when starting to allow radios (one per line) in a situation like this?
  • I don't know how many employees are in each of your assembly lines, but this could be a potential headache unless handled properly.  Regardless of whether you're avoiding stations with objectionable material, it could still drive an employee crazy if he or she is a diehard country fan and is being forced to endure rap or hard rock for an 8-hour shift. People can get pretty picky (and prickly) when it comes to what they want to listen to...

    I'd hate to suggest a solution that's too cumbersome, but you might want to think about either one of 2 solutions: 1) finding out what type of music those on one particular line enjoy and if you find the music "type" to be split into 2 or 3 types, rotate the radio stations daily to accommodate each group. (Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll all like the same music = nothng to worry about) OR 2) allowing each person on the assembly line their "turn" per day or half day (hourly might get a little ridiculous) to put on the station of their choice.  With radio/music, you can't please everyone all of the time, but you should do more than just leave the raido there to possibly turn into something that further divides employees/creates resentment.

  • We don't allow radios, mp3 players, etc. mainly for safety reasons because we have pretty loud machines.  Headphones would have to be turned up too loud.  Johnny has good suggestions and I think you will want to think it through pretty carefully before you start allowing radios.  Sometimes it's harder to take something away than it is not to start it in the first place.
  • I wouldn't go to this guy for recommendations ...

    Does Your Workplace Need a 'Funsultant'?

    likely, if you read "Are We Having Fun Yet? The Infantilization of
    Corporate America" by Matt Labash, who rues the fact that fun as a core
    corporate value did not evaporate when the tech bubble burst.

    "If you thought the fun stopped there, you're sadly mistaken,"
    Labash writes. "Like a diseased appendix bursting and spreading
    infectious bacteria throughout the abdomen, fun is insinuating itself
    everywhere, into even the un-hippest workplaces."

    Writing in the Weekly Standard, Labash takes good-natured
    swipes at organizations that seem to have gone over the top in their
    belief that a fun workplace is a productive workplace.

    Take, for instance, workplace rubber chickens, Frisbee tosses,
    mustache-growing contests, pet psychics, and interoffice memos
    alligator-clipped to toy cars. Or perks that include on-campus indoor
    soccer fields, air hockey, ping pong, billiards, company pools and hot
    tubs. And those are all at just one company -- Aquascape, a
    pond-builder supply company in St. Charles, Illinois. ;

  • You can always go the candy/food route:


  • You can always go the candy/food route:

     Tootsie rolls - thanks for the "roll" you play

     Peppermint Patties or mint tins - thanks for your commit"mint"

     Nestles crunch bars - we can always count on you in a "crunch"

     Reese's pieces - thanks for helping us pick up the "pieces"

     There's hundreds out there like this.

    Hope this helps!

  • We have all inclusive staff meetings twice a year.  At the Christmas staff meeting, all employees are given a company shirt or fleece, whatever is ordered that year.  We also have employees bring their kids in to trick or treat, we dress up at halloween, we participate in Bring Your Child to Work day. 
  • Our company provides a basket of fruit delivered every Monday morning to the lunchroom. We used to have a candy basket, with treats but changed it to fruit since one of the company's values is to promote a healthy, safe work environment.  Within our department though, we all contribute to bringing in a little something sweet.

    Recently we administered a staff survey and provided granola bars and advised staff to enjoy one while taking a break to participate in the survey.





  • I am not sure what type of industry you work in (i.e. service or mfg) but when I was in manufacturing, we had monthly housekeeping awards and quality improvement suggestion rewards to name a few. 

    Teams with the cleanest team room received pizza for the team.  We made a big deal by inviting the Plant Manager and Dept. Head, taking pictures and posting on our company wide TV monitors and newsletter.

    Quality improvement awards were tracked and voted on by the Director of Quality and a printed Quality Award Certificate for Outstanding Suggestion was given to the winner (monthly).  We made this certificate ourselves so no expense except for paper and ink.  Again, pictures were taken with D of Quality and Plant Manager and posted on TV monitors and newsletter. 

    I found that people like recognition first and then food or some other non-expensive item second (such as pencils, cups, hats or T-shirts). 


  • You can Celebrate along with your employee when them or their children/significant other, etc, have accomplished somehting.  Have a bulletin board assigned to bragging about your employees and their personal accomplishments.

    This would give the employee a sense of "ownership" and would most likely look forward to coming into the office or place of employment to see his or her name of the board with pride.  Even more so if it is a child or other important person in their lives.



  • We have two all staff meetings a year.  At one of those meetings each workgroup presents a skit representing their organizational function.  For example, our accounting department presented a fashion show using calculators and spreadsheet printouts as dresses, etc.  It was hilarious.  We post birthdays and anniversaries, distribute cards, buy a cake, and sing happy birthday once a month for a 15 minute celebration.  In September we hold an in-house picnic recognizing and celebrating the staff’s hard work.  This is a small catered affair …hamburgers and hotdogs.  We do casual day every Friday and occasionally we make the dress a theme… company t-shirt day, rock and roll Friday, etc.  We do “brown bag” lunch meetings and show a video on a topic selected by staff: stress management, communication, etc.

  • Here are some things that I have implemented in the workplace:

     Pot Luck Luncheon

    Basketball tournaments  ($500 buys you to hoops and a few balls)

    Ping Pong table in the lunch room (we bought it used for $50 and they LOVE it)

    Adopt a cause and participate in a fund raising event like walking for the cure

    Conduct a cubicle or door decorating contest for a holiday theme or a business related theme

  • HI everyone. I'm new here. While reviewing the board and I came across this post I decided to reply. I tend to cringe at the word "fun" when it relates to the workplace. Don't get me wrong; I stongly support motivating employees, creating a healthy work environment, etc. It's just that having "fun" at work tends to create more problems than it's worth.

    HR should be more than creating activities. It should be a job that is used find solutions to create an environment where our employees can come to work and feel productive because the environment permits it. "Fun" should be something to aspire to after hours. 


  • In the day to day office functions I find employees get so involved in their own positions & duties they forget to value other employees and their contributions to the company.  Recently, we have done several team building projects/events that bring us together to work as a group and for a common goal.  Having a common goal and keeping that in mind is the key.  First and most successful was our Fundraising Campaign for the United Way.  We increased last years contribution by 125% and this was because our team, and I can know say team, worked together for a common goal and had a great time with it.  I worked hard as a manager to encourage all employees to participate, not by demanding, but by motivating and creating a sense of accomplishment for each milestone we acheived.  Second, and previous to the fundraiser we have a working lunch with BDazzle Brain Teaser 9 Pc. Puzzles (9 pieces sounds easy...just try it) you can puchase them on Amazon or QVC.  Third, we had a series of summer pot luck luncheons.  Forth, and very expensive...we had a well known speaker Fran Battisti speak, he is out of NY and well received.

     Hope this helps

  • I am interested in team building activities.  I like kldrake's suggestions.  I am looking for more as well, if anyone can help.

  • A surprisingly fun thing we did was to intall a huge dry-erase board in our lunchroom.  About once a week a topic will be posted (by anyone who thinks of one) and people post anonymous answers. The first one we did was "tell something about yourself that no one else knows" and we revealed the answers ("I was an extra in Caddyshack"; "I ate a vegemite sandwich every day for six months"; etc.) at a staff meeting. 

    Some other topics:

    • What was the first concert you went to?
    • Word Association
    • Triple Play (lists of three)
    • What was your very first job?
    • If you could have one super power what would it be?

    We have had a blast with this and we have gotten to know each other a bit better.

  • Here are some of initial thoughts:
    • Employees need to know they are working on worthwhile things
    • Employees need to know they are appreciated
    • Employees need to receive compliments on their work
    • Employees need to know their input and opinion is valued
    • Employees need to know their work makes a difference
    • Employees need to have work which is interesting and challenging
    • Employees need to feel they are learning and growing
    • Employees need to feel they are making progress in their career
    • Employees need to be fairly remunerated for their work
    • Employees need timeout - treasure hunt anyone?

    In many ways, our employers dictate how happy we are at work. A fun workplace could instigate treasure hunts, morning teas, dinners to celebrate project milestones etc. While this may be true in some instances, it’s not a very nice way of living and thinking.

    Some Examples:

    Angela Wiley of the Blonder Company reports that the order department plays bingo at least once a week.  It’s not regular bingo, however, it’s called Blonder Bingo.  The card consists of customer account numbers, shipping routes, and other company terminology.  During Blonder Bingo days, the order department customer hold time improves by 20% and the abandonment rate by 50%. 

    Eileen Douse of Human Dynamics has created “the wacky hour” to re-energize employees and stir their creative juices.  At 3 p.m. everyday, the staff spins wildly in their office chairs for 30 seconds.  Even this short break of “foolishness” revives them when the afternoon doldrums begin.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />

    Rebecca Rogers at University Hospitals in Augusta, Georgia, developed an activity called “Communal Captions.”  To wile away spare time at the copy machine, she posts photos from newspapers and magazines and invites staff members to write funny captions below them.  Not only do the writers enjoy themselves, but so do the less creative folks who simply read them.

  • This isn't a suggestion on how to make the workplace more fun but rather a question about Employee Appreciation Day!!  Anyone ever plan events on this day (March 9th) for employees?  If so, I would love to hear more about them.  I think this would be a great way to make the workplace more fun!!
  • I know on one company who made a contest the see what was the wackiest way they could a t-shirt with there company logo. They would take pictures of the things they would do while wearing the t-shirts and then share them. I saw pictures of people skydiving, bungie jumping, they even had a custom t-shirt made for an elephant! That was the best picture, I think I still have that one, if you would like to see it. The employees loved out doing each other, it was a lot of fun!
  • Our company keeps a grill on the loading dock and we have company sponsored cookouts during lunch on the 1st of every month.

  • Hello MIkey,

    Making the workplace fun can be a challenge, but here are some of my favorites:

    Have a Luau

    Make bag of candies and send to your employees ( find the ones that say " You are a star performer","Awesome", etc.)

    Send birthday cards

    If you work at a site- see if you can split the cost among divisions and have a pizza, ice cream or soda and chips party

    I enjoy giving cards to my employees during the month- with a gift card to the mall, etc.

    I hope these help and good luck.



    HR Manager 




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