Team-Building Activities That Don’t Feel Like Forced Fun
Cool ways to improve company culture, no ice breakers required.
Want to Be Happier at Work? Have Some Fun
For most of us, work isn’t usually synonymous with playfulness or kid-like wonder. But there’s plenty of evidence that we collectively need something less-serious to perk up our workdays. Udemy Business reports that some 43% of employees are bored at work, and psychologists tout downtime as essential for brain health. Further, some research supports that focusing on fun over happiness in general can make people, in fact, feel happier. This might come in the form of small moments of joy during our daily routines, like savoring a snack or exchanging GIFs with an office BFF. Taken one step further, “kidulting”—tapping into childlike nostalgia and joy—can incite a mood and creativity boost that spills over into the rest of our work. Next time you or your team are feeling stuck in the day-to-day, try a nostalgic, just-for-fun activity to spark some kid-like joy. Beyond a benefit of immediate lightheartedness, your current work challenges may just feel a bit lighter, too. Start with one of the easy-to-execute ideas below, then let your imagination run free. Make a Retro Playlist One of the quickest routes to reliving your past in the best way: Cue up a playlist with all your favorite hits of yesterday. Blondie, Modest Mouse, old-school Mariah… choose your own adventure! Throw on the top tracks you used to listen to while flopped on your bed in high school and rock out while you tick off your to-do list. Turn up the fun as a team by soliciting songs for a shared throwbacks-themed playlist. Bake Some Childhood Treats For delicious-smelling cheer, pull out a favorite family recipe and get baking. (Extra points for bakes with sprinkles, marshmallows, or other kid-approved elements.) You’ll be the star of the office when you bring your creations in to share the next morning. If you’re WFH, snacking on homemade goods is pretty much guaranteed to put a sweet pep in your step. Whether you grew up craving cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, or pumpkin bread, recreating the recipes of your past is a surefire way to get some nostalgia kicking. Organize a Casual Group Craft If you have kids or friends who do, you’ve probably seen some colorful finger painting, creative stick figures, and abstract cut-and-paste artwork that shines despite its lack of technical skill. Sure, fondness for the mini artist who made it comes into play, but the idea of making something hands-on without pressure for it to be “good” or have a “point” can feel especially freeing as an adult. Embrace a beginner’s mindset and try a simple, low-barrier craft like painting pottery, building a terrarium, or making candles (easy with a kit) with your colleagues. See if your team budget will cover the cost of supplies, or if leadership is willing to bring on a pro to lead the group. Plan a Post-Work Adventure Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you they’d pick you up at school and take you somewhere special? Whatever the destination, it made the school day fly by with excitement. Recreate the experience by planning something purely fun (even silly!) after work. Play unapologetically: Set a date to go ice skating, see a cheesy movie—with popcorn, candy, and soda, of course—or rally your team to go to an arcade-themed bar or another unexpected activity.
Creating space for: a brighter outlook, rethinking work, real connection, and self-care as more than a catchphrase.
3 Major Company Culture Challenges, Answered
An expert Q&A on cultivating workplace wellbeing.
18 Employee Recognition Scripts for a Job Well Done
How to say "thanks" and show you really mean it.
3 Ways to Improve Employee Wellbeing ASAP
Meaningful strategies from our CEO and an HR powerhouse.
How to Support Employee Wellbeing All Year Long
Healthier, happier teams are a workplace win-win.
A New Day for New Stand: David Garcia Steps Up as CEO
Garcia leads the employee experience company into an exciting new stage.
Are You Doing Workplace Gift-Giving Right?
Modern gifting rules for making everyone in the office feel appreciated.
Disconnected Culture? Focus on Shared Employee Experiences
Download our free white paper on mastering hybrid work culture.
30 Check-In Questions to Start Your Next Meeting
Simple prompts to help people feel more connected.
Employee Recognition Ideas for Teams That Do the Most
The best ways to say “appreciate you” now.
New York Mag’s Podcast Manager on Perspective and Pleasure
Gaby Grossman prioritizes living her best life, well beyond work.
5 Pop Culture Moments That Epitomize Work Life Right Now
What employers can learn from Beyoncé and The Bear.
7 Sweet Snacks That Make a Perfect Afternoon Work Treat
Sometimes you need a little sugar to keep you going.
6 Tips for Mastering Hybrid Meetings
Get everyone on the same page even if they aren’t in the same place.
The Work Topics Employees Wish Managers Would Pay Attention To
5 issues your team is begging you to address.
Where to Get Lunch In Noho
Cheap tacos, summer rolls with a vibe, and a pasta spot with sidewalk seating.
How This Music Industry Pro Stays Human
Offsetting a 24/7 work schedule with cooking and personal commitments.
9 Non-Fiction Books for a Mental Health Boost
Genuinely helpful reads for when you’re feeling some type of way.
10 Asian Supermarket Finds That Make Great Office Snacks
Crunchy bags of bliss, courtesy of H Mart.
Quiz: Does Your Work Friend Have "Real" Friend Potential?
How to tell if they’re a ride-or-die or just a Slack fling.
What It’s Really Like Being a Working Mom Right Now
Pandemic parenting is even weirder than it sounds.
How This Design Editor Stays Human
A busy interiors expert on building boundaries between work and rest.
How My Partner and I Decided to Move for Her Career
Smart tactics to navigate big feelings.
I Tried 4 Popular Productivity Techniques—Here’s What Worked
Beats blinking at a blank screen.
Connecting With Coworkers in a Hybrid Kinda World
How to feel like a team when you’re stuck on Teams.
Note-Taking Tips From My ‘Type A’ Sister
Actually being able to refer back to them? Incredible.
5 Simple Stretches for Your Biggest Work Posture Problems
Keyboard claws, cashew back, et al.
Tips and Tricks From Night Owls on Surviving the 9-to-5
It’s an early riser’s world; we’re just living in it.