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What Are Surprising Ways You Have Fun at Work?

Our experts weigh in on how to create camaraderie and culture in the office.

Play some putt-putt. 

Our clients like to have a mini golf contest in the office, using plastic cups as the holes and with treacherous obstacles like the photocopy machine, trash cans and filing cabinets. You can have fun making it difficult—like ricocheting the ball off a filing cabinet. Each hole is named for a particular company value. When someone sinks the ball into that cup, they then talk about the person in the company who really models that value and how they’d like to step up their game regarding that value, too. —Christine Comaford, leadership and culture coach, SmartTribes Institute

Make holidays about those in need.

On holidays like Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving, employees come together in a conference room to do arts and crafts for nonprofits: making cards for an assisted-living facility or a children’s hospital or putting together baskets for veterans. As people problem-solve and create together, those skills transfer to their work. Cooking and serving a meal at a soup kitchen together is also a fun and transformative experience. —Comaford

Play the name tag game. 

One day each week, there’s a different theme for what people write on their name tags—like the name of their pet, their favorite junk food, or whether they’re a dog or cat person. It works as a conversation starter, so we discover more about co-workers we may have had for years. —Michael Kerr, President, Humor at Work

Start a new tradition.

I’ve never seen a great workplace culture that doesn’t believe in the power of rituals. It could be M&M’s Mondays, where enormous bowls of M&M’s are available all around the office; Third-Person Thursdays, where everyone refers to themselves in the third person all day; or Monochromatic Fridays, where everyone dresses in black or white. I’m always struck by the power of simple gestures to change the tone in an office. —Kerr

Chill out with your co-workers. 

Our office has a weekly tradition of chill sessions. We crank a Spotify playlist, order some delivery, crack open our office bar and shoot the breeze about a topic. It might be a fun discussion about something work related, like dissecting a new ad campaign that caught an employee’s attention, or it can be something personal, like a TV show someone is obsessed with. It helps us share our interests and bond as a team, and it helps create a culture of openness and togetherness. —Aly MacGregor, president, Reicura

Take a gamble. 

We have an internal betting system. We place bets on the number of views a digital ad will get in a week or how long a client meeting will last. The prizes are silly things like a company-branded fidget spinner. It’s all in the name of good fun. —MacGregor

Share family-style meals. 

On National Cheese Day, one colleague challenged everyone to bring in a dish with cheese in it. We even had ricotta cookies for dessert. We’ve done a chili fest the Friday before a big football game, a full corned beef meal for St. Patrick’s Day and a Casserole Thursday—just because. Everyone contributes, and we all benefit from the amazing food and camaraderie. —Sue Spiry, marketing specialist, Market Mentors

Get creative with the office furniture.

Instead of pounding coffee, our sales team reenergizes in the afternoon by heading over to our warehouse. We pick out rolling chairs and some small orange traffic cones, and then we pair off for a relay race. You have to navigate around the cones, then tag your partner for the second half of the relay. The fun part is that you’re going backwards, looking over your shoulders while frantically pushing with your feet. We laugh and encourage each another along these makeshift courses. The race break leaves us refreshed and ready to seize the rest of the day. —Lynn Whitbeck, Founder and CEO, Petite2Queen

Illustrations by John Jay Cabuay