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27 Shockingly Easy Ways To Have Fun At Work (While Staying Productive) In 2021

By March 6, 2021 July 2nd, 2021 No Comments

Having-Fun-At-Work

Picture happy employees frolicking through their stylish start-up halls and then transitioning seamlessly into a productive work sprint.

This doesn’t have to be a fantasy.

Many people think “fun” is something that belongs only in recess, vacation, weekends, and childhood.

But fun is a fantastically expansive word. Merriam-Webster defines it as “what provides amusement or enjoyment.” Fun is subjective and fulfilling, and when employees may pursue their idea of it, it’s also beneficial to work.

Having fun at work is essential to employee motivation, creativity, and team-building. It can and should be part of every work day.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Everyone’s favorite singing governess, the one and only Marry Poppins, has long recognized the beautiful harmony between work and fun:

“You see, in every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game.”

Keep reading to find a range of different ways to bring a magical “element of fun” into your work.

Who Would You Like To Give Gifts To?

Clients & Customers Employees

Why Is Having Fun At Work Important?

Having fun at work is important because it has the power to make any kind of work feel like a calling instead of an obligation. Having fun doesn’t cost much, sometimes nothing, and yet it can boost job satisfaction. Companies on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to work for list—including CHG Healthcare Services and Sheetz, Inc—understand this, and their team members list “fun” as something they love about work.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Having Fun At Work?

The benefits of having fun at work are, as the research shows, higher engagement, motivation and camaraderie and also bolstered company cultures and bottom lines.

 

27 Ways To Have Fun At Work

1) Dress for happiness success

SnackNation-Swag-Hat-DeskClothes affect your mood. Researchers even named the effect “clothed cognition.” Wear something that makes you feel happy, calm, powerful, or capable, and those feelings might just come out in your actions, thoughts, and words. If a bold pattern can brighten up a break room and a splash of yellow can channel fun workplace vibes, then there’s no reason a pop of self expression can’t make over your mood. That is why many companies are contributing to a positive work culture by providing employees with high quality clothing in the form of company swag.

Why we love it: Most people already want to look good, so if they can feel good while they’re at it, then that’s a major win.

How to get started:

  • Pick a few outfits you absolutely love that also fall within your company’s dress code of course.
  • Journal about the differences you feel in your mood throughout days when you wear these outfits.
  • Repeat.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”  – Edith Head

 

2) Encourage public recognition

Encourage public recognition

If fun is “what provides amusement or enjoyment,” then this idea covers both points. The feeling of making someone’s day provides the givers with rewarding amusement and enjoyment, and the recipients certainly get enjoyment, plus a boost of self esteem and motivation.

Why we love it: With the help of employee recognition software, you can easily create tons of feel-good recognition vibes.

How to get started:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” – Mother Teresa

 

3) Host a murder mystery

murder_mystery

Get away from the everyday and join your teammates in a high-stakes crime-busting adventure that is equal parts fun, stimulating, and unforgettable.

Suitable for both in-person and virtual team building events, a murder mystery can breathe new life into your team.

Why we love it: It takes a team to solve a mystery, so it’s perfect for boosting collaboration, camaraderie, remote work culture, and other important aspects of team building.

How to get started: Outback Murder Mystery

“Curiosity, easily frightened, takes refuge in puzzles, murder mysteries, and spectator sports.” – Mason Cooley

 

4) Eat lunch anywhere but at your desk

Eat Lunch Anywhere But at Your Desk

Team lunches represent the ultimate in work-appropriate fun. Bring your team together for a simple lunch that provides a double dose of nourishment from both laughter and delicious food.

Why we love it: Eating is an absolute must-do for everyone. Using it as a foundation for fun is a realistic and sustainable way to keep the good times rolling month after month.

How to get started:

  • Declare one day a month team lunch or team snack day.
  • Remind everybody to pack well or simply pick up a few boxes of expertly curated snacks from Caroo.
  • Gather, eat, and laugh

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words, like ‘What about lunch?” – A. A. Milne

 

5) Set up a laughter gym

KPMG GOOD

Laughter is free, exhilarating, and unbelievably fuss-free. We carry with us the essential “tools” for laughter 24/7. With just a little encouragement, via Laughter on Call’s laughter gym for example, what started as a little joke can turn into an unforgettable afternoon of belly laughs.

Why we love it: Science suggests laughter can cut down stress, bring people together, and elevate mood. Plus, it’s also contagious. Get a few people laughing and the joy will domino through your happy workplace.

How to get started: Laughter on Call

“Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.” – John Cleese

 

6) Start every meeting with a little fun

The meeting is a modern workplace constant. Infuse each meeting with a little fun to build a culture everyone wants to be a part of. Even just 5 minutes of jokes or games can be exactly what someone needs to have a much better day.

Why we love it: Participation is pretty much guaranteed. People are already planning on attending the meeting, so you don’t have to convince them to set aside even more time for a separate event. Plus, your brainstorms will benefit from the good vibes.

How to get started:

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.” – Thomas Aquinas

 

7) Plan a great escape

the-escape-room

Make work more fun by having fun working together to outsmart the mysteries of an expertly designed escape room. These rooms include plenty of problem solving with a gamification angle that turns a standard process of deductive reasoning into an unforgettable adventure.

Why we love it: It leaves you with tons of memories and maybe even some collaboration and problem solving skills that will come in handy during the next group project.

How to get started: Escape Game

“We feel free when we escape – even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.” – Eric Hoffer

 

8) Invite pets to play

Invite Pets To Play

Having pets in the workplace isn’t just adorable. According to some studies, bringing pets to work can also boost morale and decrease absenteeism for both pet parents and their coworkers.

Why we love it: Furry balls of pure fun, animals can instantly create a carefree atmosphere, reminding you that life’s little pleasures deserve as much attention as your next deadline.

How to get started: Return to Work: Creating a Pet Policy for the Office

“My little dog—a heartbeat at my feet.” – Edith Wharton

 

9) Enjoy daily brain teasers

A little brain teaser, a prompt about a coworker, a riddle, or a question about an obscure bit of history can make an average day an intriguing day. Enjoy a little ask-and-answer questions every day to create a workspace buzzing with brainwaves and good times.

Why we love it: A not-too-challenging challenge will kick-start curiosity and add a pleasant coffee-like buzz to an average workday

How to get started:

  • Brainstorm some fun questions
  • Post a different question each day on the whiteboard, Slack channels, etc.
  • Give shout outs and small prizes to the people who seem to know everything
  • Check out our list of would you rather questions

 

10) Celebrate every employee birthday and milestone

Celebrate Every Employee Birthday And Milestone

Take advantage of every cause for celebration to blend the elements of employee recognition with good old office fun. You don’t need to plan extravagant parties to celebrate in style. Something as simple as a happy hour, an ice cream social, or a Caroo care package is all you need to inspire the smiles.

Why we love it: Celebrations like these make team members feel more like family members. It creates an invaluable atmosphere of caring and support.

How to get started:

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

11) Get happy during “Happy Hour”

citybrew_beer_and_cheeseThe unofficial grandmother of all fun work events, the “happy hour” first poured its way into workers’ hearts during Prohibition. Since then, capping off a day’s work by toasting has developed into a workplace culture mainstay that remains every bit as fun as it was in its youth.

Why we love it: It’s versatile and crowd-pleasing. You can pull off a happy hour as easily over Zoom as you can at a swanky pub.

How to get started:

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

12) Lift spirits with good music

Few things are more uplifting than listening to your favorite music. One of those things is sharing your favorite music with others. Add even more fun to your good times around the ping-pong tables by creating a group playlist everyone can add to.

Why we love it: It proves that fun at the office isn’t about fancy or expensive perks; it’s simply about sharing experiences with team members you admire.

How to get started: Spotify Collaborative playlists

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius

 

13) Give everyone an insider’s only nickname

This idea goes above and beyond a simple activity; it’s a state of mind that puts a healthy emphasis on fun. Nicknames, especially clever ones, can solidify a person’s sense of identity and belonging to a team.

Why we love it: It rekindles something, a childlike spark perhaps, that many people didn’t even realize they were missing.

How to get started:

  • Plan an activity or book one through the Go Game.
  • As you play, be on the lookout for remarkable skills or quirks.
  • When you find someone’s perfect identifying feature, turn it into a nickname.

“I love nicknames. It makes me feel loved. It makes me feel less alone in this world.” –  Ellen Page

 

14) Have feel-good fun with wellness activities

Employee Wellness

Wellness activities offer more than just fun. They offer a chance to recenter, rejuvenate, and reconnect. Wellness events are multitasking activities, doling out fun along with other rewards.

Why we love it: You can create your own definition of wellness to suit your team’s preferences. Someone on your team can lead a yoga or meditation class. You can play a game of Nerf tag. You can even take a little class to pick up some new skills. The only rule is that everyone leaves feeling good.

How to get started: Remote Team Wellness

“We were all work and no play before Remote Team Wellness. Now we really get along as a team a lot better.” – Remote Team Wellness customer

 

15) Office “Shark Tank”

Channel the innovation-inspiring television series Shark Tank. Invite anyone and everyone who thinks they have the next big idea (either within your company or in the whole wide world) to come together for a festive pitch session.

Why we love it: You’ll feel the energy of ideas flowing through the room. Not only is it exciting to hear everyone’s brilliant ideas, but it’s also a chance to collaborate on some viable possibilities for products and initiatives.

How to get started:

  • Send an event announcement, including parameters for presentations.
  • Remind those who’ve never watched the show to check it out.
  • Show up on the big day—snacks and prizes in tow—to celebrate your colleagues’ brilliance

 

16) Go on a scavenger hunt

Let's Roam

The love of a good mystery and a good chase might be universal. People of all ages and with all interests will delight at the chance to chase down hidden objects, interpret clues, and best of all, do it all with co-workers who can turn the adventure into a cherished memory.

Why we love it: Whether you choose an in-person or virtual scavenger hunt, you will experience the same thrills, the same exciting feeling of transportation, and the same sense of bonding you get from solving problems and working through puzzles as a team.

How to get started: Let’s Roam

 

17) Spin a wheel of prizes

Spin A Wheel Of Prizes

A wheel of prizes combines the fun of a game show with your employee recognition efforts. Ask employees to recognize each other when they do something creative, kind, thoughtful, strategic—or embody any other attribute aligned with your company values. Each recognition equals a chance to spin the wheel.

Why we love it: The event (spinning the wheel) itself is quick and easy, but it will fill employees with a constant sense of anticipation and a constant desire to recognize one another. It’s also the perfect way to add a sense of ceremony to your next retreat or holiday party.

How to get started:

  • Create a virtual or physical wheel of prizes.
  • Create your contestant pool. (This could be a simple survey or a physical hat of names written on paper.)
  • Stock up on excellent prizes, like an assortment of Caroo care packages
  • Pull a few names and spin that wheel once a month.

 

18) Liven up meetings with a game of  “Shout Out”

Liven Up Meetings With A Game Of  “Shout Out”

Sometimes, the most effective way to start laughing is to try not laughing, especially during sometimes stuffy scenarios like meetings. Add a challenging sense of fun to company meetings by daring coworkers (selected at random) to say a pre-selected (preferably ridiculous) word or phrase without cracking up.

For example, you might challenge your office mate to say, as your team lead asks for new business during your next status meeting, something like, “There’s always money in the banana stand.”

Why we love it: It’s all about busting expectations and breaking out of the everyday. No matter how people react, you and everyone else who’s in on the joke will probably get a laugh. (And if others don’t start laughing, then they’ll at least be surprised enough to pay closer attention throughout the rest of the meeting.)

How to get started:

  • Do a quick temperature scan to make sure this activity is appropriate for the particular meeting or your company culture. (Especially since the person you challenge would be the one to get in trouble.)
  • Select a name from a hat.
  • Assign the word/phrase.
  • Watch and laugh.
  • Optional: Sneak a stealth video of the moment on your cell.

“He who laughs last didn’t get it.” – Helen Giangregorio

 

19) Have game-time Friday

You don’t need to wait for your next virtual game night to have some light-hearted fun. Set aside an hour every Friday afternoon for game time. You can play video games, board games, mind games—anything goes as long as you and your coworkers have fun playing.

Why we love it: An hour of blissful game-time fun will quickly become something everyone looks forward to all week. It might just become a tradition people cite as one of their favorite aspects of your company culture.

How to get started:

  • Add a recurring event to the company calendar. (Participation is, of course, optional.)
  • Pick or crowdsource some virtual or in-person game options.
  • Play, have fun, and repeat.

 

20) Take trivia time outs

We all your you are probably telling your coworkers that you are great at trivia…

Take Trivia Time Outs

Break up the work days with 5-minute bursts of trivia fun. Questions can easily be sent via email or Slack, and they can multitask as team building activities if you theme quizzes around you team or your company culture.

Why we love it: Everybody needs to take some breaks throughout the day. This activity provides the perfect break and introduces an opportunity for onsite and remote employees to bond or to compete.

How to get started:

“My team’s been using Water Cooler Trivia for more than two years now. While we were in the office, it was really fun to discuss the results each week and celebrate the winners. Now that we are all remote, the fact that the quiz results still give us something to talk about each week over Slack that isn’t work-related is super appreciated.” – Water Cooler Trivia customer

 

21) Play knockout basketball

Knockout-Basketball-Game

A pickup game of hoops will be fun whether you have skills or not. (Just check out this clip from The Office for a preview of what might await you.) Even those who decide to hang out on the sidelines will find plenty to enjoy about this activity.

Why we love it: Exercise, competition, and hilarity wrapped into one activity? Where do we sign up?

How to get started:

  • Find basketball knockout rules here
  • Learn how to plan and organize a full basketball tournament here

 

22) Get outside

We live in a world where the average office worker gets in only around 7,500 steps per day—fewer than the recommended minimum of around 10,000. Get outside with your team to get exercise, fresh air, and to share wonderful conversations.

Why we love it: Sunshine is funshine. Sunlight can relieve stress and even improve your mood. Chances are, you’ll feel the effects of those uplifting rays the minute you pry your eyes from the computer and get outside.

How to get started: Just rally a few coworkers and take a walk around the block. See where you go from there.

“Walking is a man’s best medicine.” – Hippocrates

 

23) Encourage conversations

Spontaneous workplace conversations have the potential to lead to as many fond memories as carefully planned events. Support unforgettable interactions between coworkers by demonstrating you see value in breaks and do not expect anyone to be chained to their desk all day.

Why we love it: Your employees’ personalities probably have more fun potential than a room full of dart boards. You can bring out this fun simply by supporting a casual culture of conversation.

How to get started: Just pick a new conversation starter each week to post on your bulletin board or Slack channel. You could even try having an “offline hour” every Friday afternoon to inspire coworkers to call or visit each other instead of sending messages.

“The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.” –  William Hazlitt

 

24) Create a Slack lounge

Slack-Lounge-Fun-At-WorkIt’s important for employees, especially remote employees, to have a safe space to talk about absolutely anything not related to work. Like a virtual watercooler, a dedicated small-talk Slack channel can become home to questions, discussions, jokes, pop-culture commentary, reviews of the latest shows, and so much more.

Why we love it: It creates connections that go beyond shared work projects and company gossip. This space gives everyone an outlet to share and discuss their beyond-work interests.

How to get started: Just create a Slack channel, post your rules (no work talk, please), and start the conversation. The channel should run itself after that.

 

25) Embrace karaoke

Karaoke

People love singing. Even the ones who tell you they “can’t sing” surely belt out a tune or two in the privacy of their cars and showers. There’s just something cathartic about channeling our inner rock stars during “stylized” renditions of favorite songs.

Why we love it: It reveals new dimensions in people you work with everyday. As you observe everyone’s song choice and performance style, you might feel you know them just a little bit better.

How to get started: Check out these 5 Rules for Karaoke, posted on LinkedIn by a karaoke enthusiast who shared these beautiful thoughts on the equalizing magic of karaoke:

“The reason a night of karaoke can be so successful is the second anyone picks up a microphone, they are putting themselves up for all to see. And in this moment, everyone is equal. Even the best singers can hit a wrong note or sing the verse when it’s time for the chorus.

And by that token, even the person who hates to sing can make the room come to life when we all discover their off-key version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is by far, the best we have ever heard. When you allow your co-workers to know you aren’t perfect, but you are willing to go with the team on this, that can mean everything.”

 

26) YOLO Groupon day

YOLO Groupon Day

Much like the Treat Yo’ Self Day made famous by Parks and Recreation, the YOLO Day gives employees permission to just go ahead and do something they’ve always wanted to try, something they’ve always talked themselves out of before.

Why we love it: It fulfills employees’ long-held desires and gives them new experiences that may actually help them through their long-term journey of happiness and growth.

How to get started: Pick a date for your annual YOLO Day and when that day comes, bust out some goodie boxes from Caroo and let everyone pick something they want to do from Groupon.

“Treat yo’self.” – Tom Haverford

 

27) Call in the food trucks

Food-Trucks

A parking lot full of food trucks is like a cafeteria but way cooler. Everyone can get exactly what they want from tons of different places and still socialize while they do it.

Why we love it: It’s more exciting and accommodates more flavor preferences than a delivery order or a trip to a restaurant.

How to get started: Find out what food trucks are available in your area.

“Where food trucks are concerned, nothing’s better than having a whole flock of them at one location. Competition not only improves the quality of the food, it prompts these rolling lunch wagons to lower prices and offer specials, too.” – Robert Sietsema

 

People Also Ask These Questions About Having Fun At Work

Q: How can I have fun at work in 2021?

  • A: You can have fun at work in many different ways. For example, you can take trivia timeouts, go on a scavenger hunt, and even set up a laughter gym. Find other activities in this list of ideas.

Q: What are some free ways to have fun at work?

  • A: Some free ways to have fun at work include giving everyone a nickname, taking team-bonding walks, and sharing jokes and memes on a central Slack channel.

Q: How can I have fun at work while staying productive?

  • A: You can have fun at work while staying productive by focusing on quick activities, including 5-minute trivia timeouts, that provide a quick burst of fun and let you return to your priorities refreshed and reorganized. Furthermore, having fun at work might actually boost productivity by stimulating engagement.

Q: How often should you have fun at work?

  • A: Fun should be an essential part of every work day. While fun may sound unproductive, it actually promotes a variety of business benefits, including increased engagement, motivation, and teamwork.

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