Beating Boredom in the Office

June 12, 2006 — -- Even though work hardly comes to a standstill in the summer, a more relaxed atmosphere abounds. It's an ideal time to get to know your colleagues through informal activities.

Whether you work on an assembly line or at an accounting firm, there are plenty of fun, even goofy pastimes that can bring people together and keep the creative juices flowing during the summer months.

Consider this supercharged list of inexpensive ways to bring fun to your workplace. These will surely add some silliness to the office and connectivity to your colleagues -- and it will certainly ensure that you no one gets get bored!

Pictures from your prime: Encourage all staff members to bring in a photo of themselves that is at least 15 years old. Collect all the photos and display them cleverly on a bulletin board. At the end of the week, hold a contest and reward the person who identifies the most colleagues correctly.

Bliss Breaks: Hire a masseuse from your local salon to provide 10-minute shoulder, hand or foot massages. Turn an unused nook into the "Calm Corner" for the day, complete with feel-good tunes and aromatherapy.

Chuck Your Change: Decorate an empty upturned water cooler and place it by the front desk with a cardboard sign "Will Work for Office Perks," and encourage fellow workers to drop their extra loose pocket change into the cooler. Explain that the change collected will be used for special treats and office parties. Talk to your boss about getting the company to match the donations so you can throw a festive "End of Summer" bash.

Office Idol: Hold a survivor-style challenge. Test your skills in waste-paper basketball, an extreme solitaire assessment, even office-themed Pictionary. Or invite small teams from other departments to compete against each other. Crown the winner of the festivities with an office-made medal crafted from multicolor paperclips.

Team Photo: Prep for a group photo by bringing fun props and costumes. Baseball caps and uniforms; cowboy hats and boots; or colorful wigs and clown noses. After the photo shoot, blow up the best shots and display them around the office.

"I Scream" Social: Use your power of persuasion to convince your manager to host a monthly ice-cream social. To sweeten up the treat, blast some 80s rock tunes (vote on the music everyone wants to hear) and sing along for a little energy and amusement.

Field Trip: All kids and kids-at-heart love an excuse to put aside their work for a stint and play the afternoon away. With permission, set aside a few hours at the end of the work day once a month for a group outing to the movies, a nearby museum, or for a few hours in the park. Make it a big deal in advance with permission slip-inspired reminder notices.

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