My favorite perk about this job? Free Lunch Fridays. My second favorite perk? Parties. The Pongo staff gets along so well that we willingly hang out together during non-work hours. Really, we do. Call us crazy.
But aside from having a good time, I shouldn't have to tell you that your job can actually benefit from such fun. You probably don't even notice it because it's so subtle, but enjoying a friendly relationship with your colleagues can increase morale and decrease stress during work hours. But if you can't spare time in your personal life to hang out with people you spend 40 hours a week with already, here's an example of the kind of fun that can be had during work hours:
We're a smallish company with employees who mostly (yes, mostly) share the same warped sense of humor and who actually enjoy each other's company. Free Lunch Fridays gives us a chance to gather in a conference room to chow down on grub the company pays for, and talk about anything that comes to mind.
It's a chance to mentally escape from work for an hour. Conversation topics can grow wildly out of control, and due to our sometimes (hah!) warped senses of humor, most topics tend to plummet right into the toilet (Poop jokes anyone?). It's not unusual to see a colleague or two blotting their eyes after laughing so hard they cried.
I've also heard of other companies hosting events that cut into regular work hours (more so than a typical lunch break), which can be a little risky, for one reason or another. Things like chili cook-offs or Rock Band & Margaritas starting at 3 pm. Oh, and while the booze-at-work thing might sound appealing, it's probably a legal minefield. (e.g., Do you get worker's comp when the lampshade falls off your head and breaks your toe?)
Not every workplace can pull off a successful mix of professional and social interaction. Get the wrong crowd together and it's a recipe for disaster. There's nothing worse than putting a bunch of people in a room together to "have fun" when they don't like or know each other all that well to begin with.
Anyway, what I'm getting at is that when you have fun with your coworkers, you have a different perspective on your job. I mean, there's a reason Google gets 777,000 job applications a year. They're doing something right (or at least, branding themselves as THE fun place to work). Wouldn't it be nice to look forward to going to work every day, even if you don't like your job that much? If the employees are happy, then management is happy, too. Unless they don't enjoy good-hearted poop jokes...
What about your company? Do they do anything fun to keep employee morale high? And does it work?
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