At SuperFriend, we know the biggest ongoing changes to the mental health of a workplace come when strong organisation-wide systems and practices are put in place.
However, you can also implement fun activities that provide important social connections, positive interactions between employees and that bolster ongoing change in a way that everyone enjoys.
So what do we mean by fun activities? Here are a few ideas:
We spend far too much time at work for it to be as serious and busy as it often gets. It’s important to celebrate not only the big things, but the not-so-big things, too. Give paid leave on birthdays, provide morning or afternoon teas for great work or big achievements and reward successes with acknowledgement in newsletters or all-staff emails. At staff meetings, provide a whiteboard where everyone can write down their Proud Moment for the week or month. Here are three more surprising reasons why it is worth celebrating at work.
Providing ways for employees to de-stress at work is a valuable tool in boosting both their mental wellbeing and your bottom line. Provide colouring books and pencils, have a masseur come in once a month, put a calming water fountain outside where employees can go for a few minutes of mindfulness, or encourage or sponsor the use of meditative phone apps, such as Calm.
Have a buddy system for people entering the workplace. It is likely that you already have strong procedural induction systems in place, so make sure you have equally robust social induction practices operating as well.
Think outside the square
Do some weekly activities that are far removed from what you would normally do, but which also help employees bond.
For example, do a weekly newspaper quiz in pairs at the lunch table, or play learning games about one another where everyone provides a truth and a non-truth about themselves, and the rest of the group has to guess which is which.
Talk it up
Bring in guest speakers to hold regular health and wellbeing talks and make sure you reinforce their message in workplace newsletters, emails and any other internal communication.
Have a themed day a month
Link in with established special days, such as Walk to Work Day, Bring your Dog to Work Day and R U OK?Day. Encourage costumes and have fun activities or information ready based on the particular theme. Similarly, encourage workplace challenges where everyone pledges their commitment for a month to a cause such as Feb Fast or Dry July. We have found that having a ‘Bring a Dish’ day encouraged employees to share their favourite quick and easy recipes as well as sharing a lovely lunch together.
Encourage your employees to undertake personal development opportunities, such as leadership courses, and provide paid volunteering days, either individually or as a team.
You can also share the Permah Wellbeing Survey with your employees, which is a self-assessment tool that curates activities and ideas for personal action. The tool is based on Martin Seligman’s research and wellbeing framework of PERMAH, which stands for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement and Health.