First off, I have to say that there's one thing that should be understood about workplace morale: it is not primarily the result of feel-good office events or activities, but rather a host of practices, including thorough communication, effectively facilitated meetings, consistent follow-through, participatory decision-making, a manager who listens and responds, and much more. These are what really boost workplace morale, and are largely a function of the manager's behaviors, attitudes and practices (more on all this later).
That being said, although it shouldn't be considered the only – or even primary – factor, a fun workplace environment can be an important contributing factor in maintaining high morale among employees.
Shaking up the daily routine can go a long way in creating a positive work environment and help employees remain vested and engaged. Take, for example, Pretzel Day at Dunder-Mifflin:
This, of course, begs the question: what's your Pretzel Day? What are the special events, activities or 'shake-ups' that occur at your workplace?
They don't have to be as elaborate as hiring an artisan pretzel maker to set up shop in the lobby of your building, but they do need to involve at least a little forethought, which could be as simple as making sure to stop by the donut shop on your way into work each Friday morning. Some other ideas you might consider:
- Order pizza for a communal lunch for no special occasion.
- Purchase and designate a small whiteboard to be used as an office wide word association game: write a word or short phrase on it daily, and let employees list their associations throughout the day as they pass by on their way to the copier or restroom. (Rule: keep it clean!)
- For a change of scenery, schedule your next staff meeting in an off-site location.
- Run an ugly tie or sweater contest or have themed dress-up days.
- During a lunch break screen an episode of a funny television show in the break room.
- Hold contests: trivia, Christmas party theme, best advertising slogan, whatever.
- Have a Christmas party. Or August picnic in the park. Or "Secret Santa" gift exchange.
- Hold a ping-pong tournament.
- Bring donuts. Or veggies. Or both.
- Set up a smoothie bar.
- Get a food truck to show up on-site for lunch.
- The calendar is full of holidays such as "National Pancake Day" and "National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day." Find a few of them to celebrate at the office throughout the year.
- Create an indoor mini golf course: have each department design a creative hole using only materials found in their department (wastebaskets, letter trays, machine parts, etc.). Have someone oversee the course during lunch hour for the week, and at the end you can award prizes to the department with the most creative segment and/or to the best mini golfers.
- Movie trivia quiz: this can be done from people's workstations and returned to an appointed person to tally the scores. Match the actor/actress with the movie, match the quote with the movie, etc. The highest score wins a prize. Announce the winners at a group lunch or after-work "happy hour" and serve free popcorn throughout the day leading up to the announcement.