Robert Godden’s musings and rants

I muse. I rant. This is my outlet!

Posts Tagged ‘Fun at work

Be daring: Approve of Social Intercourse at work!

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The title of this blog, if read too fast, might cause some consternation.

Whilst it might then seem less problematic; on a second read, it probably isn’t.

In Australia, we have a jobs boom. It’s pretty tight for candidates right across the board in every state. Smart recruiters are having a great time. I certainly am!

What makes it  difficult is outdated management theory in both general management and HR.

One of the types of management thinking that is really at issue is outdated attitudes to flexibility. Technology offers so much freedom – and yet management can’t pass that on. However, that’s the subject of an article I’m penning, so let’s move on.

Social Intercourse: Oh yes! That’s what every workplace has that is unique. If you are addicted to The Bold and The Beautiful or Neighbours,you can find people in every workplace that share your tragic obsession. But if you’re addicted to the ebb and flow of friendships, the achievements and the highlights, the scandals and the office politics at work; then how can you leave?

Of course, it’s best to avoid the aforementioned scandals and office politics, and good employers add good stuff that is remarkable so that their staff share a common experience that is outside of the ordinary.

Psychologists say that shared experiences bond us. That’s why eating a meal with a client is a damn fine thing.

The best bonding experiences have been found to be dangerous situations, or wacky and absurd ones. Since tying your staff to the railway lines is likely to cause a stir in OH&S circles, why not try something wacky?

Institute the 15-minute weekend catchup – from 9am to 9:15 on Monday, staff may not do anything else but gather in the kitchen and talk about their weekends. Have a big clock that counts down and then emits a loud chime to send them all scurrying back.

Have a theme every casual day. I once convinced a new starter that on Fridays you could only dress in colours that occur in Liquorice Allsorts. (She turned up in black, pink and lime green!). Offer a prize for worst tie day (customer contact people may need to bring two).

Encourage staff to eat together by sponsoring themed lunches every fortnight. For a few bucks per head experience something different each time. For example, a Mexican meal (unless your office is in Mexico) or a build-your-own-sandwich buffet

There is a lot written about having fun at work. But as more places get switched on to this, companies can race to outbid each other in the ‘fun’ department. The trick is to get your people interacting.

Is it dangerous to office discipline to encourage office friendships? How can it be? Millions of companies have a “refer a friend” policy. so how can it be acceptable to be friends before you work together, and not form a friendship in the workplace? And office discipline is a bit of a myth – set clear boundaries on confidentiality and professionalism, but understand that staff talk, whether you like it or not.

I’m out to collect great examples of social interaction at work, and your comments will be a great start. My stats say 64 people read this blog – so two each gives me over a hundred!

Now that is is genuinely a once weekly-ish blog, and since the title is “Musings and Rants”, next time I’ll provide a full bore rant! Tune in then.

Written by robertgodden

May 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm