It is estimated that the average adult will spend 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. This does not include more than 50 hours spent after work checking emails, texts and handling emergencies. These long hours mean more work, less vacation time and more stress. With the amount of time that we spend at work, on and off the clock, wouldn’t it be nice to take a moment to breathe and relax…at work? Well, you’re in luck: Monday, January 28th is National Fun Day at Work!

The origins of the National Fun Day at Work are not known but the message is clear: focus the day on shaking up the office routine to foster camaraderie, humor and team building. Here are some ways that you and your team can celebrate on Monday:

  • Bring in the Treats: Whether it is bagels in the morning, buying lunch for the team or an afternoon pick-me-up snack, food can bring fun into your office. You can also make it interesting by holding a contest among your team for best cake, dish, etc.
  • Competition: Set up different gaming stations and have your team play. Consider breaking the group up into teams to compete for prizes and bragging rights. Game suggestions: UNO, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Checkers, Chess, etc.
  • Picture Wall: No need to wait for Throwback Thursday! Encourage each everyone to bring in a baby picture and pin it to a wall or board. Have employees try to guess which picture belongs to which team member. The person with the most guesses wins a prize. Other photo options: employee’s children, pets, etc.
  • Make it a Theme: Sports Day, Game of Thrones, Incredibles, Harry Potter, etc. You have plenty to pick from. Decorate the office, encourage employees to dress up or bring in food that matches your theme.
  • Scavenger or Treasure Hunt: Everyone loves a good mystery. Set up small prizes around the office (inside and outside) and create a map or riddles that employees must solve in order to locate the prizes.

The list above are merely suggestions; get creative and organize activities that will resonate with your team. Be sure to take pictures to document your day and share on social media with the hashtag #FunAtWorkDay.

We know some of you are thinking, “this is work; it’s not supposed to be fun”. In fact, having fun at work and supporting employee happiness is good for your business:

  • Improves Communication and Collaboration: Most offices require employees to collaborate throughout the day to accomplish daily tasks. When employees can have fun together, it encourages cohesion and cooperation that can lead to fewer incidences of miscommunication and division.
  • Increases Productivity: Happy employees are productive employees. In an environment where employees feel valued, they tend to take ownership of company values and strive to do the right thing for customers, often going above and beyond expectations.
  • Reduces Absenteeism: Promoting a fun and jovial environment can help reduce employee stress and anxiety and the negative effects from them. Unplanned absences and absenteeism negatively impact productivity, leading to downtime and loss of revenue.
  • Increase creativity: Remember letting children play to increase their learning and imagination? The same applies to adults. Employees learn better in a relaxed environment. Play can help stimulate their imagination to find creative ways to solve problems.

As we can see, keeping employees happy is good for business. This does not mean that there are not work goals, targets, and expectations; it merely means ensuring that our workplace policies and practices are employee focused because the employees are the ones who will help contribute to your company’s success. Employee engagement, work-life balance, and team building…these are all topics for blogs to come. In the meantime, let us work with purpose and a conscious decision to make National Fun Day at Work more than just a once a year event in your office. A team that works hard deserves to play hard. Celebrating employee birthdays or work anniversaries and bringing in treats are simple ways to encourage fun throughout the year.  Lastly, be sure to look up other national days that you and your team can celebrate, from National Backward Day and National Common Courtesy Day to National Relaxation Day and National Cake Day.