Wheelchair Basketball And Relationship Building

Over the last two weeks I was fortunate to be among those presenting workshops for my colleagues in the Social Services Department where I work. This was an inaugural event; hopefully the first of what will be an annual undertaking. I say I was fortunate because there were only 3 workshops offered in any one day and to be involved in facilitating 1 of them was my privilege.

In addition to the workshops, there was a keynote speaker, some testimonials from those in receipt of our services both past and present, and there was a presentation on local workforce statistics too; giving us a fairly tight day. There was of course a much-appreciated luncheon too; if you feed us, we will be happier!

I tell you though, one of the most unusual and looked-forward-to activities of the day however was the opportunity to play some wheelchair basketball with my co-workers during our lunch break. It wasn’t the only option either. Some staff opted to join a drum circle; where 2.5 foot bongo-style drums appeared and a trained player came in to lead whoever opted to join the activity in learning how to play.

Oh and the third lunchtime option was sitting down and learning how to turn those plastic milk bags – the ones that hold three plastic milk bags inside – into a weaved mat for families in poorer parts of the world to sleep on as a makeshift mattress. That was even more unique than the wheelchair basketball; I’d never heard of such a thing and it was indeed something to see completed.

My choice was to get out on the court and try out my skills while confined to a wheelchair and unable to use my legs in the process. It was so much fun the first day, that when I returned on the following two days, I opted to play a second and then a third time too. As those attending each day were different people, it gave me the chance to interact with fresh faces and play with or against co-workers I both seldom see or work with. Our department is very large you see, and we are spread across 5 locations so we don’t actually meet face-to-face often.

If like me, you’ve never had the chance to sit in a wheelchair and play the game, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity if you can. Forget about your natural talent or lack of it. This wasn’t about finding out who the great athletes are and separating the good from the bad. This was all about having fun and interacting with people we’d only normally interact with in a strictly work-like capacity.

We’d all assemble on the court, strapped in to avoid falling, and then experiment with manoeuvering around the floor. Learning how much speed we could generate, how to turn left or right, how to pick up the ball from the floor and most importantly of course, how to shoot the ball without being able to generate any power whatsoever from our legs. That was a great leveling experience! One of the adaptations we were glad to see was the hanging of two hula hoops from the basket at each end. The lowest hoop counted as a point, the higher one worth a couple and if you did score in the traditional basketball net, it was worth three points.

Make no mistake it was fun; it wasn’t about which team won, how many points were scored or defended against.  We had I suspect about 7 players on each team, although no one really stopped and counted. There were no substitutions or referee, no out-of-bounds even when the ball did go where the traditional boundary lines were painted on the floor. We were lucky in fact that there was netting all around the playing area to catch stray passes and missed shots.  We were onlookers too; curious co-workers cheering on the group of us, curious enough to hang out with us but not interested in actually playing.

Like a lot of activities it accomplished what it was designed to do. Give staff the opportunity to bond with each other and interact in a fun way. In this sense, we all won. It was a good time. So good was it in fact that some wondered aloud if that wouldn’t be a great social activity for upcoming birthday parties with friends. That might sound unusual plans for a birthday party, but it put a lot of smiles on our faces.

When you play together you work better together. Relationship-building is something many good organizations seek to encourage in their employees. The people I typically email or speak with over the phone, but whom I seldom see face-to-face except in training events I now know better. The fun basketball get together is really the vehicle or tool that gives us some common ground upon which to strengthen our working relationship. It accomplishes the same thing for those I work with daily, including the person I share my office with. Getting together in a non-traditional way.

Mission accomplished. I’ve yet to hear anyone involved who didn’t have a good time. I feel that (heaven forbid) I should lose the use of my legs, I have something positive to look forward to, not to mention a real appreciation for those who unlike me, can’t get up and walk away when the game is over.



Spontaneous Fun In The Office

Yesterday afternoon was a period of planning and preparation for me. Starting on Monday of next week I will be working out of a different office than I would normally, facilitating a two-week employment workshop. So it was an afternoon of assembling all the required resources I’ll need and putting these all together in kits for each participant.

So does this sound like a good time to you? It requires some serious calculations; determining all the items needed and not forgetting anything that might later on suddenly become essential if missed. These kits I assemble include pens, notepads, highlighters, pencils, a tent card, thank you cards and envelopes, USB flash sticks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, a large leather folder, a smaller folder including a calculator and my business card. Then there’s the general supplies like flip chart paper and markers, tape, stapler, and the list goes on.

Sorting all these items into a pile for each participant and ensuring no one pile is short any particular item takes time. If this administrative, behind-the-scenes kind of afternoon sounds mundane, isolating and boring to you, you’d be surprised then to find that I turned it into something both fun, productive and inclusive. I’m sharing this with you as a real-life example of what you might do – or something akin to what I’ve done – in your own workplace when faced with something similar.

The first thing I did was use a high-traffic location which is accessed by staff moving about the office from one area to another. To pass the time, I fired up the laptop there and was soon piping some music through the overhead speakers. Nothing too loud and annoying for those working at desks nearby, but just loud enough to hear while in the room.

The music I chose to play was catchy, lively and old enough to be well-known and hopefully spark some good memories. The playlist for example included, ‘Born to Be Alive’ by Patrick Hernandez, ‘The Twist’ by Chubby Checker, ‘Love Shack’ by The B-52’s, ‘Pretty Woman’ by Roy Orbison and ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack. Bouncy tunes with solid beats and music to move by.

Never afraid to be in the spotlight, I was shuffling my feet, dancing around the room and the fitbit on my wrist was counting every step and contributing to my overall daily goals. As it turns out, it was also qualifying as exercise minutes too, something I hadn’t thought of until I later checked; an added bonus. Who knew?

As the staff moved through the space, they laughed, rolled their eyes; hey I even got in a dance move or two with a few of my co-workers who couldn’t help but stop for 40 seconds or so and shake it on down with me. While this went on, another worker was taking photo’s and recording a video of these spontaneous moments which she later circulated to those caught on camera.

Now you might say to yourself that what I’m sharing just goes to show a good example of unproductive, wasted time when these few staff were entirely goofing around and getting paid to do it too. Ah my readers, if you feel this way you couldn’t be further from the truth. The packages I was assembling got done with no extra time involved. The staff passing through couldn’t help but smile and laugh. They experienced some levity and had you been there to see it, you would really have seen people bonding together; nurturing good working relationships with one another. These are the kinds of moments many employers hope to have in their workplaces but can’t script, plan and implement. It’s the spontaneity and staff themselves that make them work.

There’s huge benefits too. You know that post-lunch sag in energy that many people experience? There was none of that I assure you. People walked through and either moved to the beat, rolled their eyes in mock disbelief but chuckled, laughed out loud and shook their heads, or went about their business just after saying how much they loved whatever song was on at that moment. When was the last time you heard, ‘In The Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry? Ah, now you’re humming it or looking it up on YouTube perhaps.

Now does this sound like the kind of thing you could pull off in your office? What in your workplace are some of the spontaneous things you do or have experienced that others initiated which build on staff bonding and interaction? As I left for home yesterday one of the Administrative Clerks said goodnight and asked me if tomorrow it would be Broadway tunes!

Many organizations have social committees, as does the organization I work for. These groups of people are tasked with making the office a positive place to work, coming up throughout the year with fun activities, typically highlighting events of note like anniversaries, holidays, special themes etc. They may raise money for charities, need budgets to buy whatever supplies they need to run the events etc. The beauty of yesterdays spontaneous fun was it cost nothing to run, there was no planning to do, no permission to seek, no emails to compose, send and have read.

So in the end, some workers laughed, some danced, I got some exercise, the time flew by, the work got done, and a few of us got a little closer. Not a bad day at all.

Having Fun With Voicemail

One of the things I take great care with each and every day is the voicemail message I leave for those who call in only to miss me and leave a message. I know that as an Employment Counsellor facilitating workshops most days, the likelihood that I’ll be there to speak with the caller myself is low, and thus, the opposite is true; there’s a high probability that the people calling me will have to leave a message.

So each and every day, while my computer is going through the process of turning on and loading the start-up programs, I pick up the phone and punch in the codes to get to the part where I can leave a personal greeting. It is a strong preference of my employer that these messages are fresh each day with the date included so that callers can determine whether you are in the office or not and when you might be able to be reached or return the call.

Now as I say, I put some thought into the message I’ll record. It’s not a lengthy process, and I don’t need to write it out first or anything, it just flows. So if you called me you might hear something like this:

“Hi, you’ve reached Kelly Mitchell, Employment Counsellor with the Region of Durham. Today is Monday February 8th. It’s the first day of a new week, and there’s no better day to start something new. No matter what happened last week or over the weekend, here’s your chance to start fresh. Do something today that you’re future self will thank you for. Leave me a message including your name and phone number and you  just know I’m going to get back to you as soon as I can – probably in the afternoon. Count on me and until then, make sure you make Monday count; thanks for phoning.”

Nothing incredible to be sure, but certainly something interesting for the caller to listen to; well I think so anyhow. So you can imagine my surprise and immediate disappointment this afternoon when I was told by a woman on the phone that my messages were hard to follow.

I said out loud, “Hard to follow?” My mind raced to think what I had recorded and how my message might have been unclear. Sure I add a little personality in there, a quote of the day, job search tip, or an outrageously animated voice to bring a chuckle and smile to the face of the caller. In terms of clarity however, I wondered what was so hard to follow and understand.

“No I love them!” she said. I mean they are so unexpected and different from what everyone else’s answering machines say. I never know what you’ll say and you get me thinking. Then all of a sudden when I’m to leave my message I forget what I have to say almost. That’s what I mean; your messages are so good they are hard to follow.” So here I was initially confused and just a tad disappointed when I thought she meant they were hard to understand, and then just as quickly I felt good and vindicated as the intent of my message obviously had made an impact for good.

On March the 17th my voice will take on an Irish lilt for St. Patrick’s Day. At Halloween, my message is actually Igor asking the caller to leave a message for Kelly Mitchell, Employment Counsellor when all of a sudden Dracula interrupts and wants to know what Igor is up to. Callers tell me they think its two people talking but really their both my voices. Mondays are fresh beginnings, Tuesdays all about getting going, Wednesdays the day to hang in there and Thursdays a day not to lose waiting for Friday. Friday of course is the day to push for a great finish and the weekends to recoup your energy. Well that’s a general theme anyhow but there are plenty of variations.

Now yes this is a business line and I’m representing my employer so the messages have to be professional more often than not – but they can also include some individual personality; some life and exuberance. I imagine myself calling in and the vast majority are people who are out of work and stressed out. So a voice full of energy and enthusiasm that more often than not makes people laugh and smile can’t be wrong can it? Many a message I listen to from those who call start off actually commenting on the message I’ve left for them; and I can hear them chuckling.

No I’m not bi-polar, I don’t have split personalities, nor am I schizophrenic. I am in a position where I encounter a lot of human suffering, heartbreak and disappointment. The unemployed often have high highs and low lows. A formal professional greeting devoid of any personality might work in some settings, and that’s fine. However, keeping people entertained while informed is more my style and it works for me. It might work for you but then again, we’re all different.

If you find you’d like to put your callers in a better mood when leaving you messages you are welcome to try out this voicemail exercise. See if it makes a difference in the tone you set for callers.

Now of course I’m wondering if my phone will be ringing off the hook in the next few days…

Fact Or Crap? Humour At Work

We’re talking appropriate humour of course, not the kind that demeans a co-worker, client, customer or management.

Humour has a place at work and I believe it can boost the bottom-line, which should get the attention of those who feel that somehow humour is a time-waster, and works against maximum productivity. It has the potential to boost morale, release some chemicals in the body that make one more alert and of course it bonds people together.

I’d like to give you an example if I may of some things I do in my workplace to spark some levity and the resulting impact. You need not copy these exact ideas, but they will give you some notion of what you yourself might do, and I’d love hearing from you about the humour in your own workplace too.

Last Christmas, my co-worker with whom I share my office space, gave me a desktop calendar – the kind where you pull off the sheet with the date on it. Each day there is a statement on it which is either a factual statement or not. The calendar is called, “Fact or Crap”. For the first couple of months of this year, I’d read it aloud for both of us and we’d guess then flip it over and read the answer on the reverse. Then we’d pitch it in the recycling bin.

Here’s what happened quite by chance however that has made that Christmas gift a source of morning humour for 10 or so of us. One day I went out and read an interesting one to two of our clerks, and they both started laughing. “Where’d you get that?” said one of them, so I told her. “Can I have them when you are done?”

It turns out that she thought it would be good to collect them herself on a daily basis when I was done with them and then she’d have them to pull out on the long car rides to the Canadian east coast when she returns home to visit her extended family with her husband and kids. Now that’s recycling!

So now what happens each morning is this: Around 8:30 a.m., I stand outside our office in the corridor and in my best game show voice loudly say, “Itttttt’s time to play Fact or Crap!” and staff walk or hustle on over if within earshot. Sometimes we have management join us, and we stand there – managers, employment counsellors, clerks, summer students all. If someone is there for the first time from another location, they don’t know what’s going on so I again go with the game show voice, “And with us today is _________, welcome to the hottest new game show, “Fact or Crap. The game where all our contestants hear a statement and guess whether it’s a fact or crap.”

They stand in a semi-circle and for some bizarre reason one of them put their hand out hovering over an imaginary buzzer one day, and now they all do it. I read the statement aloud and they simultaneously blurt out, ‘fact’ or ‘crap’. Someone usually says, ‘true!’ and we all laugh.

It takes about 4 minutes from beginning to end, and then we all disperse after cheering for those who got it right. It’s quick, but everyone shares the laugh. One of the senior clerks who works apart from the rest of us but is within distant earshot absolutely loves the game and looks so forward to it. It keeps her connected, and she likes to be called before we play if she misses hearing the announcement.

Who could have guessed that this $7 or $8 dollar desktop calendar Christmas gift would morph into a daily source of humour to start our workday?

Here’s a second and third idea. We have two whiteboards in one of our hallways that were largely unused until a couple of people started using them to promote staff recognition and fun. I noticed however that for the last couple of weeks they were blank. So yesterday I did something on both. On one, I made several tic-tac-toe games with a marker, and invited people to make a single move whenever they walked by. The game continues with everyone walking by adding an, ‘x’ or an ‘o’ until someone gets to make the winning move.

On the other board, there is a long story with many blank lines for people to insert words that will fill in the story. Such as: _______ woke up and saw it was _____ o’clock. Time for a quick _________ and then breakfast consisting of _______, ________ and _________ to drink. etc.

Yesterday I noticed someone had inserted the word, ‘lawnmower’ where it had previously said, ‘…got out their ___________ to get to work.” That kind of crazy, fun, off in some unforeseen direction evolving story. In short, a little bit of fun. This one has people stopping in the hall and putting something on the board – all in less than a single minute.

No cost involved in either idea, but some humour, some bonding, shaking off the lethargy and returning to work a little more energized and with a positive attitude. This kind of thing also has the impact of having people refocus more on their work having had a quick diversion in attention. And if I was walking down the hall with a client past the whiteboards? Personally, I’d suggest they make a move on the tic-tac-toe board. Why not share the fun?


Following My Own Advice And Having Fun

Today might be my last day of paid work for awhile. My co-workers and I are part of a union of employees who collectively are in a situation where our bargaining committee has issued a work stoppage that would take effect at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Now I’m not going to get into the issues here and talk about that process because I don’t think that would be wise or profitable for any reader out there. Suffice to say however that the stress of a work stoppage and the loss of income that comes with it are affecting everyone. There’s an edge in the workplace.

Fortunately last night, instead of sitting at home and wondering what might or might not happen and allowing the stress over things I have no control over, I had other plans. In my local town of Lindsay, there’s going to be a production of, “Beauty and the Beast” in the fall of this year. Last night was the night when those who have auditioned last week and passed that stage were invited to get on stage and audition for specific parts.

So upon arriving, I was handed three sheets of paper, each containing an excerpt from the play with three different characters highlighted. If you’ve never gone to a callback before for amateur theatre, this means that you’re being considered for whatever you’ve been handed, and you’ll be on stage speaking the lines highlighted with one or more other people so the Director’s can see how you deliver the lines, the chemistry you create with various people, and the can gauge things like the height of the actors, their stage presence and which roles suit people best.

Do you know the play? If you do, then picture me up for the role of Cogsworth the clock, Lumiere the Candlestick or Maurice, the father of the lead Belle. Do I have a preference? Sure, Cogsworth is a fun role, and I’d like that one. But some people can’t pull off certain roles, while others can adapt and play convincingly a number of roles. So it’s really up to Director’s to assemble people and put them in roles which as an entire cast will work best for the audience.

Interesting how my fate of which role (if any) and whether I’m on strike tomorrow or not are both out of my hands at this point. But I digress.

My point here is that last night was fun. It was a chance to catch up with other actors I only see whenever there’s an amateur production in our town to try out for. And it’s been a couple of years since a show was mounted in Lindsay which called for locals to audition. Some of the people who came out are now in their 20’s, and I first acted with them when they were small children. All of us are older, and we brought back warm memories of plays past.

So from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., I sat and watched small children do their thing on stage and then from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. I was doing my bit. It is fun like I said. There’s no audience out there to wow, and you’re up there on an empty stage with nothing but other hopefuls all holding their various photocopies of script excerpts and reading lines back and forth. Some get right into not only the words, but start to add actions, facial expressions, and movement. Others, well, they just read the lines.

What I really liked about the group who came out last night is that the quality of people from which to choose is strong. That makes the job harder for the two Director’s who have to cast people in various roles, but the final production will be really good because each person can sing, can act, and can dance.

While there, I did think of the looming strike from time to time when people asked, “How are things?” I think that’s normal to be thinking of it. However, it was equally nice to then just get caught up in doing something fun and enjoyable, laugh and hug a few women I haven’t seen for years.

I imagine you’ve got some stress of your own. A frustrating job search, a promotion that you got passed over for, a presentation at work that didn’t go over well or is coming up far too quickly. That’s the thing about stress, it’s not only reserved for some. We all get in situations which bring a certain amount of stress with them. It’s about how we deal with that stress that defines us and keeps us healthy or not.

Diversions such as my audition last night, serve to provide balance and an outlet for that anxiety or stress. I know that today at 8:00 a.m. as I complete this blog, I am more relaxed than I was yesterday at this time, and yet the threat of a strike is now 22 hours away.

Take a walk, play a game, ride your bike, do some gardening, go see a comedy movie. Do whatever you personally find enjoyable and whatever brings a smile or a laugh to your face. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 46 to frown I’ve heard. So stop working so hard and lighten things up a little. Lightening things up doesn’t mean your problems are not important, it only means you’re dealing with them in a healthy way.

An Example Of Office Spirit

Not in every firm of course, but in most organizations, there is a general hope that employees go about their jobs on a daily basis with some optimism, some positive vibes; in short, some spirit. Many have committees whose sole purpose is to raise the spirits of everyone who works there, because happy workers are productive workers.

The irony of these committees I have always maintained, is that there always seem to be a formality about the activities. It’s kind of, “Okay what will we plan to have fun doing?” Do things really need to be planned out in order for people to generate positive spirit in a workplace? I sure hope not.

So where I work, we have events planned by our social committee that center around the holidays throughout the year – such as Valentines, Canada Day, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick’s day etc. It’s a sure bet there’ll also be fundraisers for the committees activities throughout the year too, like Bingo etc. All of these things are well received by the majority, but they all share one thing in common and that is that they are planned activities.

Yesterday however, there was a spontaneous event in my workplace that raised the spirit of just about everyone, even though only five employees out of 70 or so took part. That alone is strange don’t you think? What is it that a small percentage of people did that caused others to suddenly feel good, smile and laugh about? But before I tell you this, I must warn you that if you reside in a sunny climate where the temperatures have you in shorts and short sleeve shirts and blouses, you won’t be able to duplicate this activity even if you want to for quite a while.

Here’s what happened. We had a good snowfall yesterday which started around midnight and lasted right through until about 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Our office is on the second floor and many of the working areas overlook the parking lot below where the majority of staff park their vehicles. About noon hour, I decided to brave the white stuff, brush the snow off most of my car, and move it up four or five feet and back several times, just to make things easier when I’d be leaving, 4 hours later.

When I returned, I joined a fellow staffer named Mary, and commented how funny it would be to go out and draw happy faces on all the windshields. I don’t know if that comment had anything to do with what happened next or not, but a short time later an email circulated in the office, and it had a picture of a snow angel you’d see when people lie down on their backs and extend their arms and legs back and forth. The message was thanking all the snow angels who were out in the parking lot.

Curious, I walked over and looked out. What I saw was a small group of staff who were brushing the snow off not only their own cars, but EVERY car in the lot! One staff person at least even went down to a store and bought a shovel and was clearing the area in front of all the cars where the plow had piled up a barrier, making it otherwise hard to exit.

I stood and watched them go from car to car, their pant legs wet, but their faces smiling all the while. Well in no time at all, my email inbox was inundated with messages where people had hit, ‘reply all’ to the original, and everyone was passing on their thanks and appreciation. Now while you might suppose it was a waste of time and money for several staff to be standing around watching the shoveling and brushing, it actually produced the opposite.

What I observed was an increased energy level, and reading those emails – all of them short, got conversations going, and laughter happening. The whole vibe in the office went from, “UGH! Make the snow stop!” to “Wow! That’s so cool! Thanks!” The office spirit soared, and it was entirely spontaneous and a gift gladly given by those to their co-workers. You can’t buy this kind of friendship that extends beyond just working alongside other people.

So what’s all this have to do with sharing job advice? Well it’s random acts of kindness like this that endear workers to their co-workers. In the end, it was an easy ride out of the parking spaces, and a slippery ride home which took much longer than usual. I imagine today that the good will created by those people will hover around at least for a while longer.

If you want to find a way to get on the good side of those you work with, it’s sometimes in doing the unexpected. Joining in when someone says, “Hey I’ve got this crazy idea! Are you interested in …..” may be just the thing instead of being practical and saying, “Nah, it’s cold out there and I’ll get wet, but thanks for asking.” See when you respond either way, you either get branded as someone who will spontaneously do fun things, or someone who is more of a stick in the mud, and passes on these things. Your choice entirely.

This was too good to pass up when I was thinking about what to blog about today. What examples do you have in YOUR place of business that raise workplace spirit?

Is There Any Fun In Your Work?

There are some jobs in this world that I have a hard time imagining have “fun” anywhere in the job description. Luckily for me and I suspect for most of us, we are able to either find some fun enjoyable aspects to our work, or perhaps we have the luxury of creating some fun with our co-workers, Supervisors and customers/clients.

Does anyone else find it interesting that many employers will stress co-operation, teamwork and providing exceptional customer service, but yet there isn’t a line anywhere about just plain fun? Oh sure there are training opportunities which sometimes include ice-breakers and stress relievers, and yes there are some potlucks to celebrate someone’s retirement or departure, but I wonder why that word, “FUN” isn’t spoke of very much.

Imagine you’re reading a resume and on it the person wrote, “Great team player who excels at creating fun in the workplace.” I wonder how far that would get in many HR departments. Ironically, that individual might just be a tremendous asset to an organization if in fact employees viewed their workplace as fun places to be and the ‘work’ was indeed a fun experience. Do the two need to be opposites?

Now sure there is the extreme where there’s an office clown who is always good for a laugh but hardly gets any actual work accomplished. I’m not referring to that person. What about the inclusion of someone who is positive, upbeat, enjoys the work they do, who attracts people to work with them because of their enthusiasm and actually does get a great deal of work accomplished? Now that’s a guy or woman I want to work with. Then again, why can’t I be that guy?

I suppose for some, you have to consider a question first. Do you believe that you have the ability to decide on an image you want to create, and then act that way until it becomes second nature, or do you think that you are who you are and you’ll always be who you are and anything else is disingenuous? If you really think that you don’t have the ability or power to alter your behaviour, and through doing this, change others perceptions of you, and crafting a change of image is not possible, I invite you to ponder at least the possibility.

Finding fun in your work is a wonderful thing if only because so much of our waking life is going to be spent working. I know personally I have always wanted to surround myself with others who are positive people, energizers who I can trust to receive my energy and feed it back to me as well. Like most things, finding moderation is the key. Being serious about getting results but achieving them by introducing fun ways to learn an experience works for me personally.

For example if I’m conducting a workshop, I’ll facilitate it in a fun way. When I’m scheduled to speak with a group about interviewing skills, I know I’m going to speak at some point about making a good first impression, and I’m never going to get a second chance to actually make a first impression on the group once I’ve met them for the first time. Often I’ll walk in and use a British or Scottish accent for the first 10 minutes, and ask the class to write down 3 things they know for certain about me and 3 things they think they know about me. When we are taking it up, and they are sharing their responses, I slide out of the accent and back to my normal speech. What an impact! They laugh, they are surprised and the energy goes up. “What are we in for with this guy” they wonder, and I’ve got their attention anticipating what might come next.

I’m willing to bet that with all the professionals out there, there are all kinds of creative examples where fun is introduced and happens in the workplace. If you’re not finding your workplace all that fun, ask yourself why. If you want to introduce it, do so in such a way that fun is not at someone’s expense unless it’s your own. Good-hearted fun, smiles, laughs, and stress-reducers are all very valuable tools in the toolbox.

So, is there any fun in your work?