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How To Bring Fun Back To Work Post-Pandemic

Finn Kelly is the co-founder and chief technology officer of The Go Game and Weve, leaders in virtual, in-person and hybrid events.

Whether you’re back in the office, fully remote or finding a hybrid solution, the road to finding a “new normal” likely feels as if it’s going to be a long and winding one. And while you’re navigating what that looks like, prioritizing your team’s emotional, physical and mental health is paramount.

To make that happen, you’re probably going to need to lighten up a bit. From my perspective, things have been heavy for a long time, so as you implement any new idea or initiative, consider these three words of advice: Lead with fun.

How exactly do you do that? My company provides a virtual events and meetings platform centered on creating fun and engaging experiences. Through this, I’ve found there are a few ways leaders can bring fun back to the workplace post-pandemic.

Start from Day 1.

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There’s nothing like a clean slate. For new hires, start off on the right foot by bringing them on board in a playful and efficient way. Try live training instead of static modules, for example. Or, gamify the training experience by having the group answer questions afterward and compete for prizes (and glory). This will not only get them excited about where they work but also make them want to keep working there.

It’s also important to empower both new hires and longtime employees to be fully themselves at work. Perhaps you could have your teams create videos introducing themselves or host meetings or games where that’s the focus. Create story prompts about first days at school, first dates, most embarrassing moments, etc. All of this can help you build a bond, which brings me to my next point.

Build your team bonds.

There’s no “I” in team. And I believe work-life since the pandemic began has been pretty much focused on the “I.” To flip the script, remind your employees of the value of a team — and all the jokes, fun, efficiencies and satisfaction that comes with it.

Remember, however, that you can’t have a team without connection, and connection over video meetings can be a bit of a challenge. So, find ways to bring in collaboration and play whenever possible. For example, plan virtual team-building events to get everyone back in stride, or set challenges so your teams can have some healthy competition. Interconnectivity and engagement are key.

Throw a party (or a few).

Virtual parties can help you keep morale high and give your team an excuse to connect outside of the office. You can celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or even lesser-known holidays you often see mentioned on social media. (Did you know there’s a National Hot Dog Day and National Board Game Day, for example?) Exchange gifts, dress up, play games, get theatrical.

Bring back a happy hour.

Many of us likely long for the days of grabbing lunch or a drink after work with colleagues — a time to take your work hat off and let loose with your team and be real with one another and operate not just as colleagues, but as friends. While team-building activities and parties can help bring some of that back, part of what made these aspects of our work lives so welcome and beneficial was how commonplace they were. It was built into daily or weekly routines as something to look forward to. Offering a virtual happy hour or other regular outside-the-virtual-office activity can help you find that rhythm again and might also help your team feel closer than ever.

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Create time for wellness.

Beyond the fun of parties and events, there are a lot of ways to empower your team to stay as grounded and balanced as possible. Offering live or self-led wellness activities such as yoga, meditation, breathwork or movement can be a great way for your team to connect, recharge and check in.

Since many people are still staying home a lot these days, create space for your employees to share their home routines, recipes and rituals with the team as well. You can even set challenges for them to continue their wellness practice offline for an added boost of joy and engagement.

Where To Start

If you’re unsure of where to start or which idea(s) to implement, throw some spaghetti on the wall. See what sticks. Then, try out a few more ideas. Variety is always welcome, and it’s important to remember that members of your team might not all resonate with the same solution. Check in on what’s working for them, and be flexible and patient. But above all, have fun.

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