December 2001 - Lighten Up
- Lighten Up - Ways to Relieve Stress
- Resources (links, books,
This year, we have many, many reasons to feel stressed and
serious. Because of this, we may be more in need of some
lightening up than usual.
It may be just
what we need to free our minds and allow ourselves to find some inner
happiness in the midst of whatever is going on in the outer world.
Having fun opens us up to creative ideas that can increase productivity
and opens up new ways of improving our work life and our home life.
December in many companies is the most stressful month of the entire
year. Why? Because people have less working time
yet the same production deadlines. Winter is present in the
northern hemisphere so the weather is colder, darker and wetter.
Many employees are feeling pressure to attend to family or holiday
projects at the same time their company is demanding more from them.
Because of this, most of our December newsletters
have been devoted to having fun to help deal with the stress.
Since time is precious this month, we have a shorter article than
usual, so spend your time thinking up fun things to do instead of
reading this article.
- Use these suggestions to get people to loosen up and not take
things so seriously.
- Make a rule that no one will be teased for their ideas.
- The only point of any suggestion is to have fun.
- Give everyone a prize just for participating. For example,
lotto tickets, candy, office supplies or small stocking-stuffer type
items. You could even have "no cash value"
prizes like a joke or a poem.
A few suggestions to encourage silliness and creativity:
Write a new book
- Have your staff write a new book called "Our Company for
Dummies" explaining in child-like language what your company
culture is like.
- Ask them to think up goofy names for the various
- You might give out the assignment and ask people to bring their
ideas to the next staff meeting so they have time to be
creative. Allow them to have their families participate if
Turn the organization chart upside down
- Ask people to come up with a better org chart — something that is not
- They might come up with a circle or a triangle or a polygon.
- Again, the point is to encourage creativity and silliness.
Have a potluck lunch where everyone brings
- Bring (or order) sandwiches or a pizza and splurge on shared
Add jokes to staff meetings
- For the month of December, start every meeting with at least one
joke -or- ask everyone to bring their favorite jokes to share.
- Ask everyone on the staff to contribute their favorites for an
- Be sure to set guidelines that the jokes refrain from any
offensive or derogatory language. These should be
"silly" jokes not put-down jokes.
Ask for fun ideas
- Start a collection of fun ideas for your company, department or
- Ask the staff to suggest ideas for bringing more fun to their
- At least once a week this month, try out one of the ideas
- If this is successful, you might want to continue it once a month
next year or include it in your company culture as an ongoing
- Find reasons to celebrate this month.
- Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, dentist appointments, on-time
deliveries, new sales, a project milestone, something in the news or whatever you can come up with.
- This is no limit what might qualify as a reason to celebrate.
- The celebration can be elaborate a party, lunch or dinner. Or, it can be as simple as ringing a bell, making an
announcement or sending an e-mail.
Send this article to anyone that you think might need or want more
fun in their workplace.
- 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work, Dave Hemsath, Leslie Yerkes, Daniel
McQuillen. Berrett-Koehler Publishers 1997. ISBN 1-576-75019-1
- Fun Works: Creating Places Where People Love to Work, Leslie
Yerkes. Berrett-Koehler 2001. ISBN: 1-576-75154-6
- The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and
Overworked, Ernie J. Zelinski. Ten Speed Press 1997.ISBN 0-898-15914-8
- The Fun Factor: Games, Sales Contests and Activities that Make Work Fun and Get Results, Carolyn Greenwich.
McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing 1997. ISBN: 0-0747-0434-6
Past newsletter articles
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