All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

That proverb is half right – not only does it make Jack a dull boy; it also makes him an unproductive, unmotivated boy. It may not be the employer’s immediate priority to organise team-building activities for the employees, but doing so can greatly boost productivity and motivate your employees to work harder. You might be wondering – don’t we already have compulsory staff retreats every now and then? Those count as social activities, right?

They do, but keep in mind that staff retreats are not held every other week. While they are compulsory to attend, having one every six months may not bring about the results that you want to see in terms of your employee’s emotional and mental health. There are affordable yet effective methods of organising social activities. With a reasonable frequency to ensure that your employees have sufficient opportunities to get to know one another outside the confines of your office. Do not underestimate the benefits of bonding activities – they are essential in improving moods and working attitudes amongst workers. Besides, with the sheer amount of time you spend in the office with your employees, it might be a good idea to have everyone on good terms with each other. We bring to you four inspired ideas for bring your colleagues together – read on.

Idea #1: Monthly birthday celebrations

Make it a tradition at the office to celebrate the birthdays of your employees! Gather up the names of the month’s babies, and pool together some snacks and a cake to thank them for their contributions to the company. It is a great way to engage your employees, as well as a pleasant break for everybody to wind down and have a light bite. If you’re willing, maybe throw in some alcoholic drinks as well – enough for everyone to relax, but not enough to get them tipsy of course.

You don’t have to worry that the planning of these celebrations will fall on you. Encourage your employees to get involved in the planning, especially for the smaller companies that function without a Human Resources department. The celebrations would be a great chance for colleagues to work with each other outside of work projects.

Idea #2: Team-building exercises

I’m sure you and most of your employees have been through one of these. Maybe it was a day-long session at a local golf course, or a visit to a laser tag arena. But team-building exercises go way further than just a fun day out with you and your colleagues.

Team-building exercises must be designed with a specific goal in mind. It may be to build rapport between certain departments who are having trouble working together because of differences in personalities. It could be to mend friendships between two individuals by getting them to work together during the activity. It’s an excellent way to unite your team, discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and enjoy each other’s company. It is therefore important to design and plan for the activity carefully – don’t plan for a beach day out when you’re trying to improve relationships within the team. It doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity; sometimes it may be more helpful to plan indoor ones, wit the focus on getting to know each other better. They could be held in the office in a half-day session, and can target specific problems that you want to address in the office. Check out our Community@Work programme where we can plan out a series of staff bonding sessions for your company.

Idea #3: Make it a meal

It might get messy, but engaging your employees over a meal is not only a great way to get to know your employees better (especially the fleeting interns), but a study has also shown that negotiating deals over a meal can increase profits as well. It can help to build trust between individuals in a more informal environment. One way to do so could be to reward your employees after, say, closing a huge deal, or wrapping the financial year. A nice meal at a nearby restaurant, or catering food to the office could be possible ways to do so.

Idea #4: Celebrate the holidays

Besides birthdays, a wonderful way to let everyone wind down and exercise their creativity is to celebrate national holidays. In a diverse country such as Singapore, national holidays for the different races and religions are abundant, and could be opportunities to decorate the office and organise sharing sessions to expose everyone to different cultures. Not only does it promote and celebrate diversity, it is also a good way to mingle with your colleagues and get to know them better. The celebrations could be thematic – you can go beyond the major races in Singapore and celebrate other nationalities as well, such as a Mexican or Italian themed gathering.

Great employers are hard to come by, and many do not prioritise the welfare of their employees. Some companies, especially start-ups, may not have the budget or time to fit in as many social activities to bond with their employees. Yet, we’ve seen the merits of focussing on the welfare of your employees – companies like Facebook and Google who provide excellent welfare for their employees have seen themselves ranking at the top in terms of popular employers in Singapore. Before you brush aside social activities as a waste of resources, consider the happiness of your employees. Happier employees generate greater profits – it’s a win-win situation for all.

Speak to our Happiness Ambassadors to find out how we can help you create a happy employees in a happy workplace.

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