Improving office wellness is about more than physical fitness. Relationships are a big indicator of both individual and community health. Invite cheer and positive connections into your office by planning shared experiences outside of professional projects. Strengthening relationships within your organization and boosting camaraderie may increase productivity, too. Brainstorm ideas that are applicable to your organizational structure, and remember to have fun!
- Coffee Meetings
Start the week on an upbeat note and encourage conversation. Providing coffee, tea, and other breakfast items during a Monday morning meeting is a low-cost way to raise the overall mood. The size of your organization can determine whether these are company-wide meetings or smaller team activities. A flexible schedule for sharing weekend highlights, refreshing memories of the previous week, and setting clear expectations for the days ahead can help to optimize communication. A mutually supportive tone may lead to shared achievement later.
- After-Work Socials
Social gatherings outside of regular office hours remove potential pressure to rush discussions and resume time-sensitive tasks. Optional after-work activities enable individuals to make decisions based on their capacity at the given time. Participants can congregate in person or online in a relaxed fashion. This is a great opportunity to share interests, hobbies, and creative pursuits. Elevated virtual happy hour options include wine tastings, trivia games, and seasonal themes. The ability to socialize from home gives individuals more flexibility and may increase attendance. Offer non-alcoholic alternatives at any tasting event in order to be inclusive of the whole community.
- Community Service Projects
Unite your organization around a charitable initiative. Community service places the focus on how you can redirect professional strengths towards benefiting the local or global environment. Perhaps your office could hold a coat drive, collect toys for a local children’s hospital, provide meals to local unhoused people, plant a community garden, or sponsor schoolchildren in a developing country. The options for making a meaningful impact as an organization are wide and ongoing. Seeing co-workers apply their time and talents to making the world a better place can exponentially increase morale. Commit to doing good together.
- Monthly Newsletters
Are there enthusiastic writers or photographers in your office? Set those creative gears turning to produce a regular internal newsletter. Co-workers can share professional successes, personal celebrations, and community service impacts. This is a good space to publish a calendar of upcoming office social events. Pictures of previous gatherings may encourage future participation and increase the sense of connection. Letters from leaders can set a tone of confidence in the office.
- Annual Family Picnics
Organize healthy spaces for weaving together personal and professional lives. Family picnics are friendly settings for introducing partners and children to your work world. A voluntary planning committee can work with a budget to maximize enjoyment for everyone. Outdoor games, music, and tasty foods are essentials. Over time, such events can become central parts of the year.
- Therapy Animal Visits
Therapy animals handlers can bring furry friends to your office. The presence of calm therapy dogs is known to ease exam stress on university campuses, and the same services are now available in professional environments. A puppy party with dogs from a local animal rescue could lead to lasting canine companionship, too. One hour can brighten the whole week. It is prudent to designate space for such a visit and give advance notice so that anyone who might prefer to abstain can go about their day.
7. Relaxed Friday Lunches
Establish a weekly forum with organizational leaders by holding open-door lunch meetings. Individuals bring their own food and questions to the table. A direct line of communication with leadership and co-workers may lead to the exchange of exciting ideas. Consider catering the meal every month or two and send out mid-week reminders.
Is your imagination at work? Incorporate hallmarks of your office culture into event plans and facilitate professional connections through out-of-the-box thinking.