A few recreational activities can have a lot of benefits

By David Lewis, president and CEO, OperationsInc

The workplace is clearly all about achieving business success at the individual, team, and company levels. Sometimes that laser focus on the business results in a lack of recognition that the workplace can operate more successfully when fun and enjoyment are part of the culture. Adding this ingredient is not difficult and can yield immediate, sustainable results. Here are some ideas your firm can employ:

  1. In light of how much of our time and energy are spent at work, most workplaces are fertile grounds for developing friendships. In fact, your employees may already be connecting outside the office. Consider being the catalyst for more connections, including organizing a book club, movie night, happy hours, or similar activities. You can serve as organizer, with no financial participation by your business.
  2. Charter a bus to attend a sporting event or Broadway show, even if some or all of the cost is borne by the employees.
  3. Leadership in any business can sometimes come across as impersonal, lacking warmth and engagement. Finding ways to humanize your leadership team can have a positive effect on the company dynamic and employee morale. So, it's important, albeit it with the right exercise of judgment and discretion, to have leadership be a part of recreational events. When members of your leadership team participate, be sure to focus on the social experience versus turning a fun activity into an off-site business meeting.

Taking steps like these can inject a level of communication and connection between management and staff that can result in a significant ROI

Cautionary note: Holding "extra-curricular" activities that have nothing to do with your company's primary business mission can expose your firm to legal and liability issues, so before you invite employees to participate, it would be wise to review your plans with an attorney or HR professional

The question of the month is sponsored by Norwalk HR outsourcing and consulting firm OperationsInc.