By Mona Terry
When you spend 40+ hours a week at work, work becomes your second home. The people you spend time with become your second family. Just like you can’t choose your relatives, more often than not you can’t choose your co-workers. While everyone may not be best friends, it’s important that everyone get along. Dealing with negativity on daily basis can be hard. It’s also important that different departments get along. It’s easy to feel like the grass is greener in another department (Marketing always gets to go to fun events, Operations is always getting lunch paid by the BBB for meeting their goals, Accounting has the ability to flex their schedule when we can’t….) which can cause resentment. To build morale, here’s what we do at the BBB:
· Eat. And how: Potlucks, breakfast at weekly meetings, donuts brought in by the CEO, dessert for birthdays, extra treats brought in by staff to share, lunch sponsored by the office (every once in a while), etc. Shared food is very popular in our office and goes a long way in making people happy. It allows our foodies to exchange recipes, makes sure everyone is operating on a full belly, and is generally a nice complement to any event.
· Celebrate. We celebrate holidays and birthdays. Very regularly. We find a reason to celebrate almost every month. We decorate cubicles for in-office staff birthdays, send a company-wide email for outside of the office staff birthdays, and have one day where we have dessert to celebrate all birthdays for that month. We celebrate most major holidays with a potluck (see above). We send an email to all company staff when someone passes any year anniversary with the company, so everyone can share congratulations. When someone is getting married, we have a wedding shower. We have baby showers. We celebrate all major events – work related or personal. It feels good when one’s accomplishments/milestones are recognized by the group.
· Encourage healthy competition. During some holidays we have competitions – office decorating, egg hunts, trivia questions, scavenger hunts, etc. We try and group staff together randomly so employees from different departments work together to achieve a common goal - and win a prize, when applicable. We will sometimes have departments compete against each other as it encourages teamwork amongst the members of each department. Some departments will sometimes heckle other departments (we make sure it’s healthy and good-natured, of course) which in a roundabout way helps build morale because it gets departments talking and joking with each other.