post-holiday slump

How to Bust a Post-holiday Slump at the Office

The holidays are fun of activities like cooking, parties, shopping, traveling and other happy yet often stressful activities.

“As joyous as they can be, the stress and expectations associated with the holidays can overwhelm us and switch our brains into overdrive,” clinical psychologist Brett Kennedy told Greatist.

This means that workers can head back to the office on January 2nd emotionally and mentally depleted. In other words, your team members may head back to work with the post-holiday blues. Mix that with a backlog of work after time off during the holiday and productivity and morale in your office could suffer.

Don’t worry, there are ways you can help your office beat the post-holiday slump with grace and ease.

Get Ahead of the Post-holiday Slump

Helping a post-holiday slump can start with an ounce of prevention. For example, you can ask your employees to truly take a break and  leave work at the office during any time off. This can help them feel rested and ready to work when they return. You can also set up expectations for a lighter, post-holiday work week with fewer meetings and deadlines so everyone can get on top of holiday backlog without feeling overwhelmed.

Tidy Up the Office

An easy way to feel refreshed and energized is a good tidying up. Schedule an hour or two for an office-wide desk purge where people can clean and organize their desks and files. Make dust wands and cleaning wipes readily available for extra encouragement. You can also organize unwanted items into bins for easy coworker perusal. After all, Jane might be ditching the pens that John loves to use! If there any unopened office supplies or used electronic items in good condition, donate them to a local Goodwill.

Focus on Office Wins

You can stop gloomy office energy in its tracks if you take some time to focus on office wins. Meet with each department and point out how that team contributes to the company’s goals and why their work matters. You can focus on recent department wins or overall team strengths, but make sure you’re specific in your praise. If you’re not a manager, you can still tell fellow team members what you appreciate about them. There’s nothing like a confidence boost to spark renewed energy for your work.

Start an In-office Wellness Challenge

After weeks of parties and rich foods, getting back to routine and healthier habits can do energy-boosting wonders for productivity. A post-holiday wellness challenge might be just what your office needs to get started. Here are some easy, at-work activities you can include in your office challenge:

  • Take the stairs
  • Eat a healthy snack
  • Bring lunch from home
  • Take a walk at lunch
  • Bike to work
  • Meditate for 15 minutes
  • Stretch for 15 minutes
  • Use a stand-up desk

Announce an Activity or Event

Sometimes we get the blues when we have nothing to look forward to. Just after the holiday break, announce an activity or event for your staff to look forward to in the coming weeks. The activity can be as easy as a relaxing afternoon at the movies or a catered lunch at the office. Or you can go whole hog and plan a fun team building event to energize and bond the whole office.

Luckily, we know just who you can turn to when you plan your next team building event. Check out our team building event options to get started or contact us at 877.267.1939 or james@fireflyteamevents.com.

How to Win at Giving Corporate Holiday Gifts

You have a great team working with you and you want to give your staff the best company holiday present ever. Corporate holiday gifts can be hard to get right, juggling sentimentality with practicality.  You’ll notice a lot of my suggestions come from crowd sourcing sites.  By supporting a campaign, not only do you score a new to the market cool present for your staff, but you’re also promoting innovation which will help your team on their way to becoming creative powerhouses.  So toss out the boring standbys, I’ve got some great ideas for corporate holiday gifts to put in your manager Santa hat.

3-D Pens

corporate holiday gifts

For the staffer that loves desk knickknacks, give them the pen that allows them to create their own.  If your staff doodle on the edges of memos during meetings, unleash their creativity by allowing them to draw in three dimensions!  These pens have surged in popularity this year so the prices have dropped, making this dream item actually affordable.  Not to mention, getting a must have toy from work is really cool.

Digital Pin

corporate holiday gifts

Be super hip with this digital accessory that allows you to display images and animated GIFs on a wearable.  Your swag game will reach a new level as the company Pins Collective runs a companion app where you can make your own designs and share them with the online community.  You could even create company designs for staff to show off their office pride.

Tile Mate

corporate holiday gifts

The savior of productivity.  Give your brilliant but slightly absent minded staff member this Bluetooth chip that can attach to anything- keys, phone, purse.  Your team will be grateful they never have to spend time looking for things again.  This also works as a great theft recovery device.  I would use it on my stapler that tends to get borrowed and never returned…

DIY Robots

corporate holiday gifts

There are a lot of robotics kits out there.  What makes the robots from Spanish company Emme great is their simplicity.  These robots require no cables, soldering, or coding on the user’s part.  They make technology accessible to everyone.  They’re extremely durable, able to traverse streets, off road, even under water.  Expect to see these little guys cruising through the office well into Spring.

Augmented Reality Headset

corporate holiday gifts

Augmented reality is the next big thing in tech.  Silicon Valley has been playing with it for years, but it hasn’t become consumer friendly yet.  I’m not recommending you go out and buy Google HoloLenses for your staff, unless you have a hidden treasure trove you’re pulling from.  Instead check out the Aryzon Headset.  It uses your smart phone and its lens technology display 3-D digital images superimposed on reality.  Life looks more like a sci-fi movie every day.

Company Swag

corporate holiday gifts

Your business is awesome and your staff are proud to work there. Gift them a quality sweater or stationary set that’s been customized with your work logo.  Lots of websites offer this service, but my favorite is Clove & Twine because of the quality of their items.

Hometown Candles

corporate holiday gifts

Some staff often need to relocate to work for amazing companies like yours.  People tend to miss home around the holidays, so thank your team for their sacrifice with Homesick Candles.  Each candle is scented to reflect the unique smells of different states.  For instance if you have a staffer that moved from Utah their candle would smell like cedar, sandalwood and cinnamon.  I love that they made different candles for Northern California and Southern California to reflect their different personalities.

MoviePass

corporate holiday gifts

The top of my personal holiday wishlist, movie pass is a subscription service that allows you to see a movie in theaters every day.  Keep your team culturally relevant and give them something to chat about around the watercolor.

Home Away From Home

corporate holiday gifts

The home automation market is exploding this year with Alexa and Google Home.  The Elf Smart Plug works with those systems allowing users to control their house even when they’re not there.  Great for giving staff peace of mind while working overtime, users can switch on lights, adjust their A/C, even set their DVRs to record a show they don’t want to miss.

Staff Outing Corporate Holiday Gifts

More and more people are valuing experiences over possessions.  Gift your team a special outing during which they can socialize and let their hair down.  From simple dinners to exotic travel, staff will enjoy getting to know one another in a different setting and you’ll learn a lot about their personalities.  Check out some of our team bonding events for ideas.

Whatever you gift your employees this season do it with good cheer and generosity of spirit.  We spend more time with our coworkers than our families so the holidays is a great time to bring your team together.  If you want to share the goodwill throughout your community, contact us to help plan a philanthropic giveback event or kick awesome holiday party for you.

company cultures

5 Company Cultures We Admire

With our team building work, we at FireFly Team Events have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of different companies. Often when searching for great company cultures you’ll find articles highlighting fun work spaces like Pixar’s breakfast cereal bar or Google’s colorful and spiraling office slides.  Now, I love playgrounds and sugary cereals as much as the next person, but how much engagement do those perks inspire?  The following companies have a culture that extend beyond flashy Instagram fodder. Instead, they focus on policies and procedures that inspire communication, creativity and group identity.

Zappos

Zappos is no stranger to top lists.  Whether measuring customer service quality or employee satisfaction, Zappos ranks high.  This is likely due to the apparent lack of office politics.  When interviewing, candidates are questioned not just about their qualifications, but their personality and values.  This unique personality test ensures they will be a good cultural fit for the office.  Zappos also rewards employees based on skill tests and reviews.  The clear paths to growth reduces nepotism and politicking.  They also have a strong unique corporate identity shaped by their core values including, “Create fun and a little weirdness.”  Staff are referred to and treated as family, which breeds immense loyalty and drive.

PepsiCo

Speaking of family, if you want to start one, you should work for PepsiCo.  It is one the few companies in the US that offers paid maternity AND paternity leave. PepsiCo’s commitment to family and diversity is more than just flowery language they add to their About page.  They are truly trailblazers of equal opportunity.  Diversity has been an integral part of their culture since the 1950s when they promoted people of color and women to positions traditionally held solely by white men.  More recently they sponsored the United State of Women Summit where they signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge.  PepsiCo’s culture is that of inclusion and promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Fitbit

The new kid on the block, Fitbit unsurprisingly focuses on wellness of their staff.  What IS surprising is their program is so inclusive and encompassing that they’ve created Fitbit Group Health. This program has been adopted by many other companies as a part of their corporate wellness efforts.  Not bad for a fancy pedometer.  Beyond counting steps, Fitbit offers a diverse menu of employee perks. How do regular on-site workout classes, fully stocked kitchens with wholesome foods, and regular team outings sound?

Blizzard Entertainment

Tech often attracts a certain personality in its worker. Shall we say a certain….geekiness?  Rather than a derogatory term, this phrase has been celebrated and harnessed by Blizzard as a way to bring out the passion and creativity of its team.  Blizzard encourages the geeking out of its staff with GameJams (a competitive game development marathon), Activisionaries (a TED style speaker series tailored to the interests of Blizzard employees), and lavish launch parties of their products that include free swag which ensure the creators are as big of fans of the product as their customers.

Wells Fargo

Its hard to like banks, but Wells Fargo is far more compassionate than your stereotypical image of bankers would be. Often when speaking of engagement, we think of how aligned employees are with the core mission of a company. Yet Wells Fargo aligns itself with the personal missions of its employees.  Ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies as measured by donations, the bank’s giving is not just a smart public relations move. It’s an embedded element of the culture.  Employees get two days of paid leave every year for volunteer work.  The bank also offers sabbaticals for nonprofit work taking up to six weeks.  When staff do good, they feel good.

Boosting the Strength of Company Cultures with Team Building

Creating quality company cultures isn’t a cut and dry recipe to be followed.  The best culture is informed by those who live in it.  We admire the employee driven mentality of these company cultures and others. Anything that makes work fun and fulfilling is awesome in our book!  To make your work more fun and help build your culture, contact us to help plan a creative event. We especially suggest the creative uniqueness of Team Graffiti or philanthropic giveback events like our Bike Build.

holiday employee wellness

How To Promote Holiday Employee Wellness

Working long hours to meet deadlines is often the norm in many offices these days. But when you add holiday stress to the mix, your team members could be ripe for a not so holly-jolly Christmas. The good news is that we’re here to help with some simple ways to foster holiday employee wellness in your office. Remember, a happy and healthy employee is a more productive employee. So making the season a little more merry and bright through holiday employee wellness is good for them and your business.

Organize In-house Flu Shots.

Even if all your team members have insurance, taking the time to run an extra errand for a flu shot may be a deal breaker with everything else on their plates. Many pharmacies will happily make arrangements for flu shots at your office. Offer to cover costs for uninsured or part-time employees to make sure everyone in your office stays healthy this season.

Plan a Casual Social Gathering.

An official office holiday party may have its own stressors, but an informal holiday social during office hours may help your employees decompress. Make it a mix and mingle affair with light snacks and festive drinks. The point of the gathering should be casual, work-free socializing, so this may not be the best venue for speeches or presentations.

Provide Healthy Snacks.

Everywhere you turn during the holidays there are cookies, cakes, nogs, alcohol, and a number of other sugary treats. We would never suggest not having treats during the holiday season, but it’s refreshing to have healthy options. Fruit, veggies, and snack bars are just as easy to grab as that gingerbread man in the break room that has been giving you come hither looks. It’s always better to have a burst of work energy that doesn’t end in a sugar crash at 3 p.m.

Promote Physical & Mental Holiday Employee Wellness.

Helping employees access self-care during the holidays — both physical and mental — can truly be a lifeline for those who are experiencing burnout, loneliness, or other stressors during the holidays. Get ideas from or add to your current employee wellness programs to help your team members feel immediately engaged. Here are more ideas to help you get started:

  • Offer an in-house yoga class.
  • Hire a masseuse for a day.
  • Hire an in-house counselor for the season.
  • Lead daily 15-minute meditations.
  • Temporarily increase established wellness incentives.
  • Give out step counters.
  • Plan a special holiday fitness challenge.

Enforce a “Closing Time.”

If it works for your business, give the gift of an enforced “closing time” to your office throughout the holiday season or for a few days leading up to each holiday. Telling team members that everyone is going home at 5 p.m. will ease pressures to burn the midnight oil during this busy time of year. Ask team members to reach out or step up to help with timely projects during the holidays. Doing so will encourage teamwork as well.

Contact us at james@fireflyteamevents.com or 877.267.1939 to learn how periodic team building events outside of your office can be an effective part of your company’s overall employee wellness efforts.

office Thanksgiving

Thanks & Giving: How To Celebrate An Office Thanksgiving

‘Tis the season to say thanks and encourage giving – Thanksgiving, get it? Therefore, it should probably include the employees you spend at least 40 hours a week with. Sure, as a boss you are thankful for your team’s efforts all year, but an office Thanksgiving time is the perfect time to make that even clearer to each employee. But thanking would be nothing without giving and vise versa. So check out the list below for five ways to say “thank you” that easily flip into five giving activities for your team.

Thanks: Personalized Notes

If your team is small, go the extra mile and give hand-written notes to each team member. For larger teams or several departments, emails work too. Whatever method you choose, make your note personal to the individual or the group. Thank them for their specific contributions and how they impacted the company.

Giving: “Secret Santa” Thank Yous

A leader’s gratitude is important, but knowing your coworkers appreciate your work is an extra boost to team value and morale. Pick names from a hat and ask employees to  give an anonymous thank you note to the person he or she picked. Encourage them to point out specific employee strengths or accomplishments.

 

Thanks: Special Team Lunch

Whether you order in pizza or make reservations at a sit-down restaurant, a team lunch is a great way to show appreciation. And remember, no one is allowed to work through it! Plan to say a few words of thanks, and make sure to include specific team accomplishments.

Giving: Food Bank Volunteering

Now that your employees are fed, help them feed the community. Organize a time when your team can volunteer at a food bank, community garden, or any other organization that needs a few extra helping hands.

 

Thanks: Team-specific Swag

Make something special that holds meaning for your team. The team motto or the go-to motivational phrase you say in every meeting will look swell on a t-shirt, mug, or water bottle. Whatever you do, don’t give away leftover swag that you give away at conferences or to clients.

Giving: Clothing & Food Drive

Identify a specific shelter or organization in your community and hold a clothing or food drive for its benefit. Increase the fun factor by setting goals for your team. Some ideas can be gathering 100 pounds of food or filling 20 backpacks with schools supplies for children in need.

 

Thanks: Prize Giveaway

Thank-you prizes in a company drawing can vary in size and value, so you don’t have to break the bank to say thank you. From $5 gift cards to extra PTO, each employee can win something that shows you appreciate their efforts.

Giving: Employee Service Auction

Each of your employees has talents and abilities that aren’t always seen in the workplace. Give your team play money for the auction and ask them to auction off services to each other such as homemade baked goods, a free car wash, and babysitting services. They’ll bond through giving to each other.

 

Thanks: Ease Work Blockers

As a form of thanks, ask your employees what their biggest blockers are as a team. There may be a process you can overhaul or a tool you can acquire to help ease their stressors. Your team may need something simple that they didn’t know they could ask for.

Giving: Ease Community Blockers

Ask your employees what is important to them in their personal communities and organize a way to help. Someone may want to run a 5K for a relative with an illness or hold a holiday event for children in need in their community. As a bonus, extending care to your team’s home communities can help give better sense of work-life balance.

Office Thanksgiving Beyond the Holidays

To find more ideas for team building events during the holidays and beyond, check out our full list of team building products or contact us at james@fireflyteamevents.com.

office games

Build Employee Engagement With These 5 Office Games

Of course we at FireFly love playing games.  We take every opportunity to play-test new challenges we offer on events.  Games are more than fun, they are a valuable engagement tool.  According to a Linkedin study, 46% of workplace professionals report that having a good friend at work is important to their overall happiness.  Now, we’re not saying all your coworkers need to be BFFs, but engaging in friendly activities like office games can actually increase creativity and retention.  When choosing a game to introduce to your office consider staff personalities, afforded time, and resources so that you can pick something best suited to your office.  Here’s five ideas to get you started.

1. Office Games DIY: Mad Libs

Feel free to keep things simple with this idea.  In a common area have staff list random verbs, nouns and adjectives that you feed into an office Mad Lib.  At the end of the day or week, type it up and display it in the break room.  Staff will get a chuckle and will want to offer different suggestions the next time.  These are great entry level office games for employees who may not want to commit to something more involved. 

2.  You Think You Know Me conversation cards

We backed this conversational card game on Kickstarter because we loved how it gave players the chance to strengthen connections beyond what’s on their Twitter feed while still being fun and playful. Players draw a card with a prompt like “I know you wish you could write an episode of:____”.  They pick another player to read it to and guess how that person would answer for themselves.  The questions are meant to lead to conversations and a stronger awareness of those around us.  Consider playing a round or two during your weekly team meetings.  

3. Office D&D campaign

Not for the faint of heart, but perfect for small offices that aren’t afraid to geek out.  Dungeons and Dragons is a great game for coworkers to play. It requires cooperation, planning, creative problem solving and conflict resolution.  If you haven’t played or seen it on Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons involves a storyteller called a Dungeon Master. The storyteller describes situations the players, portraying a group of heroes, find themselves in.  Players choose how to respond to each situation. In fact, they employ strategy and roll dice to determine how successful their plan is.  If you don’t have the confidence or know-how to act as Dungeon Master, you can hire an experienced game master to run a singular adventure or ongoing storyline for your office game.  

4. Forbidden Desert (and other collaborative board games)

Collaborative board games are having a huge rise in popularity recently.  In these games players work together to accomplish a goal and beat the game.  My favorite of these is Forbidden Desert.  In this game players are each given a role that allows them one special ability.  This causes each player to be essential for their unique talent. Most of all, we think this is a nice allegory for the work place.

5. Sneaky Cards

Finally in what may be my favorite holiday stocking stuffer game ever, Sneaky Cards consist of a series of challenges meant to be stealthily completed.  The challenges are evergreen so when one is completed the card is handed to the target who can then attempt it.  This makes it great to play at the office because it doesn’t require everyone to focus on it at the same time.  In fact, the game works better when left to the periphery of memory so that players can be more sneaky!  

Whatever games work best for your team we hope you take the time and allow yourselves to have fun with them.  We spend too much time at work to be bored!

80s themed team building

80s Themed Team Building: Totally 80s Decathalawn

We had a totally radical time with Ghirardelli Chocolate Company at the Pasea Hotel in Huntington Beach for an 80s themed team building event. Our newest, coolest and raddest Totally 80s Decathalawn! Our tubular clients came dressed to impress with leg warmers, bright makeup and BIG hair! Awesome costumes included Marty McFly, Slash, Madonna, Ghostbusters and lots of Jazzercise get-ups. Even our team got in on the neon fashion action!

80s themed team building

Classic 80s Games With a Team Building Twist

We introduced new games inspired by the decade we were celebrating. Teamwork really came into play with Team Pac-Man. Individual team members controlled isolated movements of our favorite pie man. Everyone worked together to make sure Pac-Man ate all his Pac-Dots while avoiding the ghosts!

80s themed team building

What do chopsticks, pencils and red solo cups have in common? They were all supplies for Double Dare, where teams competed head to head in zany feats using common household items. We loved how competitive the teams were throughout the game. Shouting counts as team communication, right?

The most challenging game of the day was our cooperative take on the classic Operation board game. Teams had to work together to carefully remove pieces from the game board without setting off the buzzer! We salute those who were successful.

80s themed team building

Everyone performed well on our Totally 80s Trivia Quiz. Nobody was a goober and teams remembered those Happy Days like they were yesterday!

It was a beautiful day on the Pasea Hotel’s lawn overlooking the ocean. And the great event was capped off with dancing to the groovy tunes of a local 80s cover band. Seeing everyone let loose and have fun being creative and a little silly was for sure what made this team building event a memorable one.

Let’s like, totally get this 80s themed team building started.

If your team is looking for a dose of nostalgia and action packed fun, contact us at 877.267.1939 or email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

 

team building event planning

5 Team Building Event Planning Tips for Beginners

It’s that time of year again — it’s company party season! And ho, ho, ho, guess who was asked to plan your team building event? It’s you! If you’re a first-timer, you may be a little nervous about the process. Don’t worry — we’re here to help you step out on the right foot and relieve a few beginner jitters. When you start with a thoughtful game plan, team building event planning success will be your reality.

These five tips will help you become the hero of your team building event. You got this.

1. Pick a Goal and Activity

Team building can and should be fun, but it should also be a structured activity that supports your company values and helps your team feel engaged and connected at work. Choosing a goal will help guide you toward the right activity and theme. For example, if your team needs a communication boost, planning a collaborative activity is a fun way to get there. Just make sure you don’t pick an activity that is too physically demanding for any team member.

2. Set a Time Limit

Work events — even fun ones — are more successful if they aren’t open-ended. A schedule is good for your business because it allows workers to prepare to be out of the office. No one wants to miss a deadline or go radio silent on a client. It’s also fair to say that most people have schedules outside of work, so it’s best practice to hold the event during work hours.

3. Choose a Venue

Once you’ve picked an activity and time, you’ll know the kind of space you need to make your event safe and comfortable. If you’re booking a venue or hiring an event planner, do it early in your planning process. Shopping around for a budget-friendly price takes time, and some venues fill up weeks in advance.

4. Prep, Prep, Prep

There’s a reason why the Boy Scouts like to “be prepared.” The more preparation you put in, the more likely your team building event will go off without a hitch. Now is the time to embrace checklists, spreadsheets, and itineraries. Heck, you can even indulge in a little “worst case scenario” thinking to help reveal potential planning problems. Think through logistics like transportation, food, water, gear, and swag.

5. Communicate the Plan

The more your team members know about the event, the better they can prepare both personally and professionally. Use these three steps as a guideline: 1. Announce the activity early in the process so concerns and adjustments can be addressed before details are set. 2. Send out a firm itinerary as soon as possible. Include details for everything the company is providing (transportation, food, t-shirts, etc.) and what employees will need to bring (sunscreen, tennis shoes, a can-do spirit, etc.). 3. Send out a reminder or two as the event approaches.

Bonus Tip: Get Post-Event Feedback

With team building event planning — as with running a business — it’s important to know what is going well and what needs adjusting. Anonymous feedback from participants will help you gauge the success of the activity and help you improve the next outing. Ask participants about the event in general and if they learned or experienced anything they’ve applied to their work.

For more team building event planning tips and ideas, visit our website or contact us at 877.267.1939 or  james@fireflyteamevents.com.

Halloween office costumes

10 Office Halloween Costumes That Are #OfficeSquadGhouls

It’s scary how excited I am for my favorite holiday at the end of the month. Halloween is a devilishly good excuse to get sugared up on candy, despite being a fully grown adult. We understand Halloween is on a spooky Tuesday this year, so you’re probably still expected to get SOME work done at the office. You can still embrace the spirit of the season and have some frightfully fun workplace play by dressing up in office Halloween costumes. I’ve compiled what I think are some awesome and creative ideas. I’m simply a foolish mortal though, so please share your wicked costume ideas in the comments or by tagging us on social media. We’re sure you’ll all look drop dead gorgeous.

Game Show Contestants

gameshow office Halloween costumes

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Sometimes costumes are great for their simplicity.  Your team can make this photo op with bright t-shirts, card board, and construction paper.  Don’t forget to be overly excited about kitchen appliances for the authentic feel.

DIY Video Games

Mario Party office Halloween costumes

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Who needs electronics?  Play your own round of Mario Kart with these outfits- dangerous projectiles not included.

Lunch Suggestion

sushi office Halloween costumes

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This adorable costume may inspire a wise choice for take out AND you get to carry around a back pillow all day!

Guess Who?

group office Halloween costumes

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In case your staff is REALLY bad at learning names, this group costume will help your team pick out faces.

Mother of Doggos

GoT office Halloween costumes

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A great pop culture reference from Game of Thrones and an excuse to bring your puppy to work- who could ask for more in a costume?

The Best Camouflage

Waldo office Halloween costumes

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They’ll never notice you coming in late for a meeting in this outfit.

Big Head and Tiny Arms

t-rex office Halloween costumes

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There is no reality in which a T-Rex attempting to type on a keyboard is not hilarious.

Everyone’s Favorite Paperclip

Microsoft paperclip office Halloween costumes

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When wearing this you’ll need to intrusively offer assistance to your coworkers only when they need it least.

Social Media Mavens

social media icons office Halloween costumes

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For any marketing teams out there, this is a great way to remember all your platforms!

Case of the Mondays

Office Space office Halloween costumes

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I’m sure your workplace is more fun than Ini-Tech, but you may need to steer clear of the print room while wearing anything from Office Space.

 

Whatever you dress as this holiday, don’t be afraid to bring some fun to your office Halloween costumes.  If your team can’t get enough of dressing up, consider learning more about our themed Techno Rallies or Totally 80s DecathaLawn by contacting us at james@fireflyteamevents.com.

 

 

 

workplace-team-building

Workplace Team Building Strategies with Chris Cavert, Ed.D.

Part 2 of Our Interview with Chris Cavert, Ed.D.

Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known educator, trainer and speaker and recipient of the AEE Karl Rohnke creativity award. He has been working with groups of all ages for more than 25 years. Chris is the author of over a dozen books related to activity-based experiential group development. He holds an undergraduate degree in physical education, a master’s degree in Experiential Education and an educational doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction. As an educator Chris focuses on how to use team building activities to develop social-emotional intelligence and pro-social skills within groups of all ages. For more information visit: FUNdoing.com

 


On a regular basis, what could a manager do in their role to help build a better team?

Build personal relationships with every member of the group that you as a manager supervise or are accountable for. If a manager is purposefully taking time to get to know everyone on his or her team, that opens the door to so many other problem-solving opportunities. You work through conflict a little faster and smoother if you know more about each other and each other’s needs. This to me is the simplest and most important thing for any manager who is leading people: put your pencil down and take the time to go out and talk to people.

A quote from my friend Molly Foote, that I use all the time is, “The more we know about someone, the less likely we are to hurt someone.” Connecting with people and getting to know them on a deeper level creates more empathy, strength around dealing with conflict, accepting each other’s differences, and the ability to work together to move forward.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t take anything personally. In life and in being a leader, it’s hard to not take things personally when you’re being attacked by a person or a group of people who are really in need of help. But they attack the person who’s trying to help.

And the biggest challenge for leaders is not to avoid conflict. Because a lot of new managers I encounter will create an environment or will have behaviors that sweep things under the rug. They’ll do everything to avoid conflicts because they don’t want to deal with it. But that doesn’t move a group forward. Groups need to be able to push through difficult challenges.

I was given great advice years ago, that we need to experience difficulty so that we can learn to recognize and choose difference behaviors.

How can a manager get buy-in for their team building event? Because so often in this field, people hear “team building” and they might start to roll their eyes.

When people are forced to do something, they react to it and they’re defensive. And it takes longer to get through the defenses. So to me, it goes back to the whole personal relationship among team members aspect.  If you’re creating relationships and the group can get to a point of saying, “Wow. We did a great job together. We accomplished something.” That same group is also going to be able to say, “We really suck at this. We need help.” Only then are they ready to accept a change or outside people coming in to help. When the group is able to ask for help, that’s where the buy-in is.

What is a simple workplace team building exercise that a manager could deliver at their next staff meeting?

One of my favorite workplace team building exercises is actually on my blog. It’s called “Name Letter Opener.“It’s an easy activity to do where everyone gets index cards. Everyone gets the same amount of index cards as the number of letter in their first name. Then you write each individual letters of your name on a different index card.  Now gather everyone’s letters and challenge the group to create a single Scrabble-like puzzle with those letters. Using all the letters, create words that are spelled top to bottom, left to right. In every case I’ve done this, the group has been able to figure out how to use all the letters.

The group observes that not all their letters are in the same place. Their letters are likely used with other people’s letters, but probably not used with every other person’s letters. From there, the discussion is that we don’t have to sit all together at the same time on the same project. People have different skills and abilities and that’s okay. The more important question is, how do our skills and abilities work together so that we fit together as a group? It’s a simple activity that gives the group a sense of the diversity that they bring to each other.

How can people find out more about your work?

The easiest way is to go to my website at FUNdoing.com. There are a lot of team building related resource on there. And I have a blog that’s been going on for over a year now that also has a lot of workplace team building ideas. You can sign up for FUNdoing’s Friday email, which is a handful of team building ideas related to growing team and helping them be better at what they do. That comes to your inbox every Friday.

Perfect. Thank you again for your time, Chris.