“If work isn’t fun, you’re not playing on the right team”.
The concept of FUN at work comes up often when discussing how to keep organizations moving forward. The quote above makes me laugh with the simplicity of the concept but it does have a place in the modern work environment.
Organizations that do not allow their staff members to unwind and have fun are doomed to have unhappy people in the workplace daily. I am not saying staff must be entertained daily but the concept of fun has shown to be an attractive variable for some well-known organizations.
Google leads the way for work environment fun with nap pods, video games and ping pong tables available daily for staff members. Who would not want to take a nap at work? Genius concept!
Texas Roadhouse is another organization that values fun at work. It’s right there in the mission statement: We are committed to our shared Core Values of Passion, Partnership, Integrity, and Fun with Purpose.
The staff gets to line dance multiple times during their shifts to some upbeat country music. It is great watching the staff members dance with huge smiles on their faces while enjoying being at work.
Well, if the Texas Roadhouse folks can dance at work, then why can’t I? That is a loaded question but one that we recently overcame in my current work environment.
Yes, there can be dancing at work! 😊
A friend at work and I started joking a few months ago about having a break-dancing contest in the parking lot. It was our little inside joke and it made us both laugh. We would mention the dance contest passing each other in the hallway and occasionally feign a dance move. A couple of our coworkers overheard us talking about break-dancing and offered we should have a dance battle at work—true story.
This led to others chiming in that we should have the contest at work and dress the part. The more this talk went on the more buzz the topic generated at work. A final suggestion was everyone in the building should wear 80s gear and we should make it an event. Please note, while at the FSU Career Center we had a Fantasy Career Day in October. Staff members dressed in gear to represent their fantasy career—one year I went as a golfer complete with golf shirt, shorts, and a golf club. This was the only time I wore shorts to work as a professional—it was great! 😊
This concept was the catalyst for us to create an 80s-decade event for our division. I went to my boss to let her know we were dressing in the 80s and her response was: I am coming as Madonna! I did not have to make a plea; it was as simple as that.
The entire campus caught the energy, and the Fall Celebration Day was established. The challenge went out to other divisions to dress in a preferred decade—we had dibs on the 80s. The 60s and 70s were quickly grabbed by folks on campus and the celebration was on.
We decided to go all in for the 80s and dress the part. I was a frequent eBay shopper as I looked for the perfect 80s outfit to enjoy the day. The great thing about the 80s is the multiple phases we all went through—so many great looks to choose from. I went with the mid-80s Hip Hop look as a throwback to some of my favorite artists—Eric B and Rakim, DJ Easy Rock and Public Enemy.
I was able to find multiple options for vintage Nike 80s track suit within my stated budget. I was also able to find a fake (plastic) gold chain to accessorize my look. A quick trip to Party City allowed me to complete the look with large rings for my fingers to really get that throwback look. One of my colleagues had an old boom box at home and allowed me to borrow it for the day to complete my 80s throwback look.
Fast forward to 10/29/21 and we produced old school flyers to pass out on-campus to promote the dance battle in our building. We wanted to ensure we had an audience and allow everyone to join in on the fun. There were several practice sessions so we could space out the dance battle and then bring in a few surprise guests—we kept the surprises close to the vest so it would enhance the event.
We coordinated a three round dance battle to get the crowd pumped and generate fun, laughter, and anticipation. The goal was to have fun!
I won the dance battle coin toss and elected to have my friend lead off with his first routine. We agreed to three rounds and then get silly with dances an old dude would do: the sprinkler, starting a lawn mower and the robot. The crowd got into each round and really enjoyed the process of two professionals making a fool of themselves at work—it was all for fun! 😊
We finished our dance sequences back-to-back in a B Boy Stance. We positioned ourselves directly in front of our VP—on purpose!
She pushed us both out of her way as the Salt N Pepa classic hit ‘Push It’ started to play. This was surprise #1 and she rocked it. She had been practicing for two weeks to get her moves right and started out with the 80s dance classic, The Roger Rabbit—the crowd went wild! We joined her after with a choreographed rendition from the Push It video—don’t think I have ever had that much fun at work.
We got everyone in the building up and dancing with a classic Soul Train line. It was fun to see others with HUGE smiles on their faces as they went through the Soul Train line multiple times. I went through the line about 5 times since we were buying additional time for Surprise #2.
We have a Performing Arts program on-campus and partnered with faculty to request a student flash. The students practiced the Michael Jackson’s 80s classic Thriller dance to finish off our dance party. I had our DJ adjust the music once I saw the students enter the building. We cleared the dance floor and let the students take over. They were a big hit with the crowd as they went through their Thriller routine—it was fantastic!
The last part of our event was the Electric Slide! Most of the folks hit the dance floor again as we did the Electric Slide—a great way to complete a dance party.
I have not seen people smile so much at work as they did during our 80s day! Several made a point to let me know this was the best day they have had at work. The smiles and happy faces made dances in front of colleagues worth the effort. Some have asked what we plan to do to top this event—I’m going to let someone else plan the next event, but we will continue to have fun at work.
What do you do to have fun at work?
“Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun”.