Every job can get a little monotonous. Even when you have your dream job, it can feel like each day is more of the same. I remember working at a fast-paced food tech start-up in the Bay Area, where I loved my colleagues and was excited about the work we were doing, but even then it started to feel like I couldn’t distinguish one week from another.
I was so focused on efficiency and productivity, that I would come into the office and race through a day of client calls, meetings, and marketing brainstorms — without stopping to see how things were going with my office bestie, or to have lunch with my co-workers — which wasn’t sustainable.
Now, I realize that just getting the job done can be numbing. Instead, we need personal connection and a little fun. It helps everyone bring their best selves to work — so yes, you’ll ace that meeting, but you’ll also be proud of who you were at the office, and what you brought out in your colleagues.
If you’re feeling stuck in the rut of just getting your work done, try a few of these ideas for how to bring more fun and connection to your office:
1. Start a tradition with your colleagues.
Traditions have the instant effect of creating a tribe. What traditions could you start at your workplace? Could you ring a cowbell when you make a sale? Take a break at 2pm every afternoon for a quick karaoke competition? Bring in popsicles when it’s hot outside? Try to hold plank for as long as it takes your colleague to handle a support call, client call, or sales call? What if you led (or pulled up a YouTube video of) a 10 minute morning meditation in the break room?
2. Choose a co-worker to pamper all week.
Bring them lunch, leave them notes, ask if you can help them with something they’re working on, make them cookies. If you don’t remember this week, I promise they will!
3. Switch up the standard happy hour routine.
A lot of offices go to happy hour together, but how could you make this more interesting? Could you bring a blender to the office and make smoothies on Friday afternoons? What if you started a running club after work on Wednesdays? Or brought board games to the office and stayed late for game night on Thursdays?
4. Plan a potluck lunch.
Choose a theme — like tacos or salad — and have each team mate bring 1 item that fits with the theme. Make sure you have the basics (like tortillas or lettuce) covered! Then lay out all the ingredients and voila! you have a gourmet potluck lunch. Even if your office provides food, you could still make this work — have everyone grab something from the buffet and bring it to your team room.
5. Try on a new environment.
Always work from your desk? Work from the kitchen one day. Always sit? Try a standing desk, or a bouncy ball chair for a day. If you have a laptop and a flexible workplace, spend a few hours working outside or from a cafe. With a small change in scenery, you’ll be surprised by the new ideas that come to you!
Bonus: Rotate DJing
If you’re allowed to play music in your office environment, get a set of shared speakers. This could even work in corporate environments on days when you’re staying late!! Each hour, switch the role of DJ among people on your team. When it’s your turn, stick to 100% throwbacks. Who doesn’t love Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”? Or try the Career Protocol interview mojo Playliston Spotify. That’ll get your blood pumping!!!