“Did you really create a Secret Santa-like gift exchange mystery game that culminated in a reveal party with pink cotton candy and an archery contest?” you might ask. You bet we did!
Now, why would we do something so silly? There is one very good, productivity-boosting reason!
Laughter is one of the best stress relievers. A fit of the giggles gives your immune system a boost and creates a dopamine dump in the brain. Dopamine is nicknamed the “happy chemical” because it increases the ability to solve problems, control emotions and innovate. If you aren’t hearing chuckles around the office, your management team may be missing a key leadership trait. Every company needs “the ability to bring healthy fun into the workplace to decrease stress and increase the cognitive abilities of their workforce,” says Jodi DeRoo, director of people-centric training firm Become Unmistakable.
We sure share plenty of chuckles here at FPC! In addition to marketing outreach, I’m also the Cultural Communicator, which means it is quite literally my job to “invigorate and enthuse the team to uphold core values and celebrate holidays, birthdays, work anniversaries and personal accomplishments.” (That’s a quote from my contract, by the way.) Ensuring our team feels appreciated and generating celebratory energy is so important to a healthy work environment, and I take being goofy very seriously!
The week before Valentine’s Day, we played a game I called “Secret Professional Admirer,” which essentially was Secret Santa with a twist. Instead of being Santas, we became each other’s secret admirers, except we only harbored passionate admiration and professional respect, not romantic feelings. I set up Valentine’s-themed mailboxes in the conference room for each player. After drawing names with an online generator, each team member was assigned another person to secretly admire. Each day of the week, I emailed the participants a fill-in-the-blank letter that would heavily compliment the recipient or offer clues to the admirer’s identity. In a MadLibs-style format, they would fill out the PDF following the word prompts, print the letter, and stealthily put it in the mailbox of their assigned person. Each morning, we would read our letters aloud to each other and crack up. You should have heard the booming laughter in the room on Friday as we all pointed fingers and made our guesses, with the team bellowing in unison after each accusation, “Dun dun DUNNNN!” Honestly, I enjoyed that process even more than my gift, although I really appreciated the vanilla candle and chocolates from Laura! We rounded out the party with some pink foods and shooting cupid’s arrows at heart-shaped targets on the dry erase board.
All in all, we really felt the warm fuzzies this Valentine’s Day! I hope this encourages you to create some opportunities for fun engagement at your company. I’m willing to share the love; if you want to see my PDFs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 😊