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10 Offbeat, Wacky Traditions to Add More Fun to Your Workplace

The following is an excerpt from The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Some fun workplace traditions don’t fit neatly into a category, so here’s  a list of ten offbeat rituals to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Stealth Disco—This is where an employee is interviewed on video by another colleague while a co-worker secretly disco dances behind them. It’s like a photo bomb only with video. And disco.
  1. Play of the Day—A product design team at Microsoft has a tradition wherein someone gets to choose the song of the day that gets blasted through the office at exactly 3 pm every day. Employees dance, sing along or, as necessary, berate the person  for choosing a Celine Dion number.
  1. First One to Say “Good Morning!”—This is inspired by a friend of mine, a former manager who got competitive with another manager about who was the first to greet the other one in the morning. This led to the two of them keeping score,  which in turn led to them hiding in the parking lot, under desk tables, or in a closet first thing in the morning in order to be able to pounce out and notch another victory. Their game lasted eight years until the one manager got the other manager’s wife to wake up in bed, loom right over his face and greet him with, “Larry says good morning.” Game, set, match.
  1. Dancing with the Executives—I’ve already mentioned this one, but it bears repeating here because it’s so wacky. Beryl holds this annual event wherein they spoof Dancing with the Stars. Only instead of stars, it’s, you know, your boss!     bigstock-Funny-Young-Man-On-Chair-34253222
  1. Crazy Hour—A good one to try at 3 pm every day to help energize folks suffering from a severe case of the afternoon blahs. Unlike happy hour, this just lasts five minutes. Employees are encouraged to do anything that gets them up off their duffs and acting goofy to generate some laughs. Human Dynamics, for example, has a tradition where everyone spins around in their chair at 3 pm for thirty seconds to get everyone laughing.
  1. Stupid Human Tricks—A good one for every workplace to try once or twice a year and a great way to get to know where the ear wigglers, dolphin imitators, jugglers and closet mimes are hanging out in your office.
  1. Amateur Night—Similar to Stupid Human Tricks, only this gives budding comedians a chance to shine. If you want to encourage more humor in your workplace and create some team-building events, what’s better than hearing original comedy material from your colleagues? The Funniest Fed competition, an annual event in Washington, D.C. has turned this into a very popular fund-raising event.
  1. How You Doin’?—This simple morning ritual works as follows: Everyone who works together on a team goes around the room first thing in the morning and yells out how they’re doing on a scale of one to ten. This serves three purposes: Like the red or green rubber ball measure employed by AFA JCDecaux, it offers a quick assessment of the team temperature;  it reminds people they have the power to choose their attitude each day and hit the reset button if need be; and it identifies anyone under a 5.0, who might need some extra team support.
  1. Monday Morning Kick-Off Messages—Leave an inspiring or funny greeting on everyone’s voice mail to greet them every Monday morning. It’s a simple way to help people look forward to Monday mornings in some small way.
  1. Monthly Laugh Offs—Admittedly, this one may be too “out there” for most people, but if part of the idea of creating traditions is to get teams laughing together more, try what some organizations are doing around the world and hold a laugh contest a few times a year where employees vie for the funniest,  loudest, longest, most maniacal and most contagious laugh.

Michael Kerr, 2016.  For hundreds more inspiring and fun ideas to build a better workplace culture in your workplace, order The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Copyright © 2018, Michael Kerr. All rights reserved.
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