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Ways to make work fun

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Updated: May 26, 2014 3:49AM



Some might argue today that life at the workplace is just not what it used to be. Where is the teamwork? Where is the camaraderie? Where is that sense of spirit?

Years ago, in my corporate life, I worked at a large bank. At the time, we were not that far out from having been bought by a much larger national bank, but we still had a considerable amount of local control.

Employees were worried, however. Things seemed the same but there was a lingering fear that “big brother’s” hammer would fall and things (and people) would change.

At the time, I was the bank’s marketing officer and, talking with managers and department heads, we saw a real need to infuse some spirit into our weary and worried employees.

Our committee came up with a unique idea. What better way to bring our people together than by asking them to do something good for others. Branches and departments were broken down into teams. Each was asked to pick a worthy cause to support by either offering assistance or raising money.

Skeptical at first, we all began working together, finding creative ways to achieve our goals without interfering with our work. Employees came to know each other on a deeper level; they laughed and got excited; a spirit of healthy competition was fostered. People started to enjoy coming to work once again.

Despite the many different pressures to be found in the office in today’s business climate, a spirit-filled environment goes a long way in making those hours away from home a lot more enjoyable. Here are a few office suggestions from your neighbors.

Cara Steinman, Lowell: There are only six of us in the office, so every Friday, we have a lunch swap. Lunch bags are placed on a table and each of us picks one that’s not our own. I know it’s a small thing but we’ve tended to get more creative each week so we now look forward to that Friday lunch break instead of quietly working through the hour at our desks. I can honestly say we’ve formed friendships as we’ve gotten to know each other better.

Ben Bielski, Crown Point: Form a softball team. Everyone in our company — men and women — are invited to play and we tend to go spring through early fall. In the off months, we plan our strategies and encourage each other to stay in shape. Spouses, kids and significant others come to cheer us on. I think we’ve really pulled together as a team, on the field and in the office.

Marsha Brant, Hobart: Some of us work outside the office; some in different corners of our building so it’s hard to form relationships. Once a month, when we have our staff meeting, our boss brings in lunch. The only rule is that while we eat, we don’t talk business. It’s usually only 15 minutes or so but you’d be surprised how much you can learn about others in that short a time. People gathered around a table to share a meal can’t help but grow closer. I think it’s been a great idea.

Kelly Sosinski, Schererville: Catch someone in the act of doing something good. Constant criticism puts us on the defensive with others but if you say something like, “Hey, I just heard you on the phone with that client. Great job!” it makes people smile, and soon they’re doing it too.



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