Socially Distanced Company Gatherings

By now, we all know the drill: six feet apart, and don’t leave the house if you don’t have to. If you aren’t going crazy, it’s probably because you’ve kept in touch with your friends, family, and coworkers during this time of social distancing. Unfortunately, however, the beloved company gatherings are not conducive to maintaining six feet between each other. Luckily, we have the technology required to host creative, fun, mask-free gatherings that can also be team-building experiences.

Pajama Party

Plan a virtual game night for your team members and make it casual by asking everyone to wear comfortable pajamas! You can always ask for game suggestions prior to the event; this will help make the night more enjoyable. Here are a couple of fun ideas to help you brainstorm:

  • Emoji guessing – everyone screenshots their recent emoji list. The pictures are saved by the game host and everyone guesses which screenshot belongs to which coworker. Mark a point for each correct guess, and see who knows their coworkers best!
  • Voice-only drawing challenge – one person is selected to describe a photo or simple image. This person can only describe the picture with geometric shapes and descriptions of distance. Think of this game as “descriptive pictionary” – everyone will draw their own rendition of what their coworker describes; whoever gets the closest to the original picture wins!

Escape Room

There are online facilitators who can help you set up a night of team-building via an escape room or something similar. One nerdy and extremely fun version of this concept is called “War of the Wizards” – a twist on the classic escape room. This event is 90 minutes long and will require that teammates work together to solve the story’s conflict.

Online Talent Show

The ultimate platform for bragging rights, a company talent show really could be the best thing to happen since COVID-19 hit. Ask team members to show off in this online event – who wouldn’t want to do that! If you’d like to make things even more fun, ask everyone to also dress up and make it a fun costume party. Reserve a special prize for the employee with the most ridiculous costume.

Apples vs. Oranges

What might seem like a silly question will lead to some of the most interesting, deep conversations your team has ever had. The premise of this activity is to start with something simple – ask your team members which they would choose if the other were to be eliminated from the world entirely. Require that they discuss the question before answering, then proceed to a new set of variables, including the previous winner. For example, if apples win the first round, pose “apples vs. scooters” as the next.

Virtual Pub Crawl

Gather everyone in a video conference for the online version of your favorite college adventure! Ask everyone to bring their beverage of choice (non-alcoholic if they prefer) and start everyone on a decided webpage or short video. At the end of a set time period, discuss the content. The webpages and videos can be as serious or light-hearted as you want; the goal is to get everyone looking at the same thing and talking about it over a pint of brew or a glass of chardonnay.

In our current social distancing climate, it’s important that we remember to take time to engage with others. Most companies realize that workers who spend time outside of work together work better as a team. In addition to this, socialization is extremely important to everyone’s mental health; whether we socialize with family or coworkers, it’s important to stay in touch in one way or another. Company gatherings can be a great benefit to the morale of your workers, so keep it light and keep it fun!

Easter At The Office: Spread the Spring-Time Fever

Easter is a time to celebrate the return of life to the Earth, and many of us celebrate for religious reasons; regardless, Easter weekend is a fun time to enjoy candy and cute bunnies, right? There are few places that fun holidays shouldn’t find their way into, and the office is no exception! What are you doing at your office building to get excited for Spring and Easter Sunday?

1. Good Old Egg Hunt

Surprise the office with a giant bag of stuffed eggs this year; you can buy empty eggs and fill them yourself with wrapped or individual candies. Get creative and place raffle tickets in some if you’d like to give away a big candy bar or gift basket! Arrive at your office early one morning, or stay late the night before so that you can hide eggs; make sure to hide them in great spots – you aren’t all still kids, after all!

2. Oh, Where… Oh, Where

For this fun game, pick up several cheap stuffed bunnies, or other Easter characters, and hide them in precarious places around the office. Make at least two of them extremely difficult to spot! Ask everyone to keep an eye out for the naughty bunnies, and have them send a list to you at the end of the day describing where each of them is. Offer up a prize for everyone that finds all of the dastardly bunnies!

3. Decorate!

Honestly, it won’t feel like a special day or week unless you toss up some decorations, everyone knows that! Pick up some cheap paper lantern-type eggs, glass clings, and maybe some pastel-colored tuille. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to bring some festivity to the office; keep it simple, and don’t overdo it!

4. Pot/Snackluck

The holidays are about getting together and sharing with friends and family, after all; why not extend that to your co-workers and employees? Let the office family in on the food fun, too, by setting up a potluck that everyone can share. Send out an email in advance so that everyone can plan, prepare, and coordinate dishes!

5. Gift Baskets

Themed baskets filled with joy and love; what’s better to put together and give on Easter than a gift basket? Treat these like a Secret Santa event by asking everyone to sign up in advance. Have everyone pick a name, set a dollar limit, and decide on a day to exchange baskets! Ask everyone to decorate their basket with fun Easter colors and stickers, just to make it a little bit more fun.

What other fantastic things have you and your office set up for Easter? Take some time this year to step-up your holiday game!

Spring Break Fun – At The Office: It’s Not Just for School Anymore

It’s guaranteed that we all remember the allure of Spring Break every year; did your family plan a vacation or a weekend getaway? Perhaps your week was filled with outdoor activities or camping! Regardless, Spring Break was the perfect time to relax and unwind – a time to reset and recover before diving into the next months of school before Summer. Now that we’re all older, we don’t necessarily get that same breather; why can’t we enjoy a little “r & r” at work for the week?

1. Jeans All Week

Whether your office is business casual or simply casual attire, odds are most people at least wear khakis. Let everyone take a breather by encouraging employees to wear the clothing they would be most comfortable in to run errands or drive in. Most people will opt for jeans or nice leggings if allowed, so suggest whatever you feel comfortable with for your business.

Hawaiian Shirt Madness!

To kick up the Spring vibes a notch or two, ask everyone to wear a tropical-themed shirt! You could even hold a contest for the most colorful outfit each day of the week. It’s your office, you decide how crazy to be!

2. Coloring Contest

Print out some adorable spring pictures and purchase some colored pencils for the office to share. Ask everyone to color a picture and submit them for judging; the best-colored picture could win a prize as elaborate or simple as you wish. Keep things fun and exciting – the goal is to help employees relieve stress this week, just like when you were all younger.

3. Cornhole Champions

If we’re all being honest, who doesn’t love a quick game of cornhole? You get to throw things and show off your aiming skills! Set up a cornhole area in your office and encourage people to practice on their off-time. Print out some sheets that outline the championship, and ask people to complete their games throughout the week. Who will be left standing?

4. Murder Mystery

There are pre-made packages you can buy for office teams, but you could always make up a mystery on your own, too! Bring everyone in for a team meeting at the beginning of Spring Break week to brief the teams on the clues. Allow teams to work on the mystery throughout the week, and set up a meeting every day to discuss the mystery. You can continue the murder mystery as long as it takes to solve or provide hints depending on how much time you’d like your employees to spend on this.

5. Volun-team!

For the week of your office Spring Break, set aside some time to do community volunteer work; not only will this help boost your local company image, but it will also help your employees get outside for part of their time at the office this week. Depending on what you choose to do with your team, you could follow up the day’s good deeds with a cookout or other outdoor event.

Get creative and have fun! You might want to ask your employees for ideas as well. Whatever you plan for your employees and team, make sure it includes some time – even if it’s just ten minutes per day – for extra relaxation outside of break time. Your employees will appreciate the breather and effort you put into planning off-time for them!

The Best Team-Building Ideas: Bring Your Employees Together – the Fun Way

It’s far too easy for us to get stuck in the daily grind at work; Monday through Friday, chugging along to get through to the weekend. As we start to fade into this pattern of thinking, it’s easy to forget our unique position as part of a team at work. If the focus is on making it through to the weekend, it’s difficult to maintain a positive, stress-free work environment. This is of the utmost importance since the quality of our work environment directly impacts our productivity. 

So, what can you do, as a business leader, to help bring the awareness back to the team? You can encourage interaction between team members by workspace organization and desk positioning, but the best way to get people to open up and let others in is to host team-building exercises.

Sales Pitch

Divide your team up into groups of two to three members; it’s best to randomly select the group members so that your individual teams aren’t simple office niches. Give each team a standard office tool or object and ask them to come up with a brief sales pitch for it. You can give each team a set amount of time to prepare or ask them to come up with it on the fly, depending on whether you are interested in improvisation or strategic thinking.

During the sales pitch, the other teams will be given an upper limit that they can “invest”. The team that gets the most money in “investments” wins.

Office Trivia

Using notecards, jot down little-known facts about your office or company. Feel free to include small observations about the color or theme of items and rooms; this will test your employees’ memory and observational skills. If you’d like, you can break the office up into teams and ask them to discuss the answers to each question before they pipe up.

Puzzle Party

As if puzzles weren’t fun enough, puzzle party will take teamwork to a whole new level. You will need one puzzle for each team that participates in this exercise; teams should be no larger than 4. From each puzzle, remove 10 pieces and place them into a bowl. Mix up the bowl and return a random ten pieces to each puzzle. 

If you’d like to add some intrigue to the exercise, pick up some chips for bartering, but don’t explain what they are for – simply include them in the puzzle box. Set a time limit and see who finishes their puzzle first!

Once Upon a Timeline

This exercise can help put the lives of others into perspective with the company they work for. Sometimes it’s easy to feel disconnected with your coworkers and employer – especially if you don’t know much about the business you work for.

Start by drawing a long timeline on a whiteboard; label the right side as the present moment, and the left side as the company’s founding date. Add any pertinent business-related information to the timeline and ask employees to share important events from their life and add them to the board. Don’t force coworkers to over-share, but ask them to share at least one important event from their lives.

Tangled

For this ‘game’, you’ll need some balls of yarn; if you visit a craft store for new skeins of yarn, you may need to roll your own balls. Break your team into groups of 6-8 and give each a ball of yarn. Have the team form a circle, and choose one person to be blindfolded. Start the yarn ball with one member of the team and inform them to all roll the ball to someone new, ending with the person who is blindfolded. 

Once the yarn web is formed, it is the remaining team members’ job to help the blindfolded member untangle the web! Clear communication will be required, and team members who can see cannot move.

Try these out on your team and see how it affects performance and openness at work!

Team Outings Your Office Will Love

There are many reasons to encourage your employees to interact outside of the office; it helps to build strong team bonds, something that is important for maintaining high levels of productivity during the workday. However, some coworkers might be a little more difficult to get out of their shells! Having some exciting team outings that everyone will enjoy is a great way to get your employees together for a good time.

Team Movie Night

For the next big Avengers’ or Star Wars movie, reserve a couple of rows at the movie theater! This is a great introductory activity to get your employees chit-chatting in line or waiting for the show to start. As people start to warm up to each other some more, you can plan more social outings for the team!

Barbeque Bash

There’s nothing that brings people together like food. Pan a potluck-style cookout if you don’t want to spend too much, or go all out with lobster and steak! Whatever food you bring will be a big hit, just don’t forget to fire up the grill and chill some drinks. Invite employees to the cookout site before the food will be ready; this will encourage people to talk and share with each other. If your team is game, plan some activities like cornhole or volleyball!

Bowling Night

This one is a classic for a reason! Anyone can be good at bowling; honestly, even if they aren’t, it can be fun and get everyone laughing! Pick a bowling alley with plenty of space for your team to plan a tournament, order some pizzas, and get rolling! If your team is feeling up to it, you could even try your hands at candlepin, a more difficult type of bowling.

Team Trivia

Check your area for a bar or venue that hosts a trivia night! This outing will encourage your team to work together towards a common goal. If you cover drinks, your employees will be happy to indulge any crazy idea you might have, even karaoke!

Theme Park Day

If you’re looking for an easy way to get your team out of the office and having a blast, look no further than the nearest theme park! After all, adults are really just big kids with responsibilities; we all like to have a little fun every now and then, too. Amusement parks usually offer group discount rates, so call ahead to see what kind of deals you can snag. Try to plan a rain date if the weather turns sour at the last minute; there’s no fun to be had at a rainy amusement park!

Regardless of what you choose to do with your team, make sure to create excitement and plan the event well in advance. Give your employees plenty of time to get excited about the outing, and decide whether to give plus one invites (or allow them to take the family along!). A team outing will help your employees get to know each other better, all while building strong connections that will help them work together more efficiently.

Ten Brilliant Ideas for Your Next Company Gathering

Whether you’re the events planner for your company or you’re just a fun-loving boss, company gatherings are a great way to get everyone out of the office for some casual (but well-intentioned) fun. These events are the perfect way to help co-workers reconnect with each other after vacations and time off, but they can also help lower everyone’s stress! As a bonus, fun activities hosted by the employer can help to strengthen the company culture – an employee’s view of how the business is run and is succeeding.

There are many reasons to have several gatherings per year, so planning a few in advance might be a great way to start the year! You can always take a poll to see what everyone would be most interested in, but sometimes the greatest events will come as a surprise to your employees. We have ten ideas for you, in case you need some help brainstorming; think about the niche your business is in – this might help you narrow down the direction you want to go.

1 – Escape Rooms

You’re all locked (figuratively) in a room and can’t escape until you solve the puzzles! Look into some escape room places in your area and call ahead to see if they have a room big enough for your party size. If you are set on this as an event, you may want to break your group up into teams – random teams work best so that people can mingle!

2 – Tournaments

Any game you can think of can be made into a tournament; if your employees are strategic, pick a board game like chess or risk. You can also hold video game tournaments if your company is IT-based and the employees enjoy these kinds of games. Think outside the box and make sure to have a prize awaiting the winner!

3 – Laser Tag or Paintball

There’s honestly nothing more fun than pelting your team members with harmless lasers and paint. Teamwork will come into play here as the opposing sides must devise a strategy to beat the other half of the office. This will be a day to remember!

4 – Volunteer Work

If pelting and zapping aren’t your company’s forte, consider volunteering at a local food bank or another organization that fits your niche. For example, if you provide some software or service to municipalities, you could search for a way to serve the city your office is set up in – trash pickup, park maintenance… etc.

5 – Cook-Off or Cooking Class

How much fun would this be for the restaurant or catering staff? Get outside, pitch some tents, and light some grills; enjoy the summer weather with a day off. Nothing sparks conversation like good food! Plus, a cooking class could help boost some of your employees’ skills for the workplace. 

If your business isn’t related to food, that’s fine, too; many people wish they could cook but don’t have the time to teach themselves. This would be a unique experience for everyone, including you!

6 – Go-Kart Racing

Does your team have a need for speed? Go-kart racing can be the perfect way to let off steam from a busy week at the office while building up some healthy competition. Few people dislike driving fast, tiny cars – this should be a hit with everyone!

7 – Egg Drop Challenge

Looking for an event that will pick out natural leaders and help build cooperation within a team? This challenge will be the perfect way to learn more about your employees’ personalities and leadership potential. Divide your group up into teams of 4-6 members, and ask each team to design a protective surrounding for a raw egg. 

You can bring in any items you want, but here are some suggested items: tape, toilet paper rolls, rubber bands, tissues, and marshmallows. Set a repeatable distance that all creations will be dropped from. Whoever’s egg survives will be the winner!

8 – Sports Games

Is your team interested in sports? This can be a great way to meet casually outside of work while feeling connected as a team – ask everyone to wear something that supports the home team!

9 – Paint Classes

By now everyone’s heard of the beloved Paint Nite; it’s so much fun to see the skills (and lack thereof) of your co-workers! Plan an event like this for an evening, and enjoy painting with your employees!

10 – Shared Learning/ Skills Workshop

This is an extremely efficient way to spend time at a company gathering while keeping things low-key and casual. If your business usually requests professional clothing and attire, consider loosening the rules for the day to encourage more engagement with the workshops. You may even wish to ask some employees (who are proficient in certain areas) to hold a workshop of their own!

Regardless of what you choose to do as a gathering for your employees, keep it casual and light-hearted. Save the heavy information and obligation for team meetings and reviews! The best way to build company culture is for you to engage with your employees – if that means getting your hands into some paint or using them to toss meat on a grill, so be it! The most important thing is to show that you can have a little fun and kick back, too.

Office Movie Nights The How-To and Why You Should

When you consider office functions, what typical things come to your mind? Some common things might be an office holiday party, Halloween event, or New Year’s Eve bash. Exterior functions and events can serve to boost team and company morale, so they are great additions to the event list, year-round. In fact, an incredibly unique way to spend an evening with coworkers could be to set up a movie party!

Planning

Depending on the space available and employees to attend your movie night, you may need to do some rearranging of seats and furniture; do you need to move a flat-screen from another part of the office? Will you be using a projector? If so, how will it be best set up so that everyone can see properly? What hardware will you be using to play the content? Do you need extra HDMI cables or any adaptors for the display device?

Speak to your employees in advance to see who might be interested – get a head-count so that you have ample space and snacks! Will you be asking employees to bring their families? If so, make sure to choose an age-appropriate movie or inform employees what you’ll be playing; this way they can make executive parental decisions as to whether or not to bring along the kids.

Pick a Movie, or Take a Poll

It can be fun to let the employees pick a movie if you have plenty of time to narrow things down. Take a fill-in-the-blank poll, and see what comes to people’s minds. As you get closer to the movie night, select the most popular and take a new poll – ask everyone to rate their picks from one to last. This may help you decide what to put on the big screen if you’re stuck; remember, you can always plan another movie night later on in the year to watch another crowd-pleaser!

Get Snacks!

The large majority of people far prefer watching a movie with a snack to munch on – just picture the movie theatre! Check out your local dollar store for chips and candy; this is a great way to get lots of food if you’ll have many guests. Don’t forget to pick up drinks! Soda and lemonade are nice, but you’ll need ice, too. Pick up some bottled water so that everyone can have something to drink during the movie.

Allow Ample Time

Since the aim of an office movie night is really to bring coworkers closer together in a less formal setting, you should dedicate some down-time for chatting. Inform employees that snacks will be out fifteen to twenty minutes before the movie starts – this will encourage people to show up before the movie starts! Hopefully, everyone can mingle and get to know any new faces or family members that have tagged along.

Above all, have fun! This is definitely a unique and under-used method to boost company and team morale. Everyone loves a good movie, and movies are best shared with family and friends – those we spend the most time with each and every day. Have fun with this event; get employee input on the excitement level for the event, and ask how they enjoyed time with their coworkers. If you find that it went well, consider another movie night next quarter!