What is the best way to build your team and boost employee morale? We like to think the answer is simple—throw a party! It may seem trivial, but the simple act of taking time to enjoy your coworkers’ company can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life. Not only is a party a great time for everyone, but it provides something for our team of virtual receptionists to look forward to in the midst of a busy month of providing top-notch customer service.
Here at Ruby, we have created our own special day of each month to make room for a good time. We call them our “Third Thursday” events. On the third Thursday of each month, our staff knows that they can count on something wonderful to do after work. One of those Third Thursdays per quarter is designated as an all-staff meeting to talk business, but the other Third Thursdays are filled with a variety of fun things to do to unwind and help our staff connect with each other. The Ruby office culture is very much based on our core values of creating community and fostering happiness and I like to think that our events play a big part in bringing those values to life. These parties do not always have to be extravagant or outrageously expensive to be effective and fun!
Here are seven fabulous things your company can do together for less than $100:
1) Bring in the experts. Many local specialists are happy to come in and lead a discussion for a small fee. We have had acupuncturist, an herbalist, an ergonomics expert, and a local chef come in as part of a wellness & heath lecture series. You may want to consider other experts like financial planners or organization specialists that might be of interest to your group.
2) Host an exchange. We are an office full of women, so we have been hosting a yearly fall clothing swap, but you might want to host a swap for books, art supplies, movies, or whatever you think best appeals to your group. Swaps are a great way for your employees to get rid of some unneeded items and come away with new treasures without spending a dime. Swaps also make for great bonding time—I love learning secrets about my coworkers’ fashion pasts during our annual clothing swap.
3) Have a good old fashioned movie night or video game night. That projector that you are using for your meetings can easily be turned into a movie projector or hooked up to a video game system. Ruby hosted a Nintendo Wii party last year and it was a big hit. We had Guitar Hero battles in the conference room and a few other games set up around the office, and everyone took turns and tried different things.
4) Volunteer. Nothing brings people together quite like a unified sense of purpose and pride. Ruby has been going to the Oregon Food Bank annually. We have a great time, we help a great cause, and I walk away feeling so proud to be a Ruby on those nights. We also walk in Race for the Cure and several other charity walks each year. Charity walks are a great way to get the team outside in the sunshine and working together for something you all believe in.
5) Make something together. Consider having a general craft night, or choose a project that everyone can work on together for the good of the office or for a special occasion. Maybe you could make some recycled notepads for the office?
6) Host a potluck. We have an office full of amazing cooks and bakers, and they just love a chance to share their scrumptious creations with the office. You can make it a free-form potluck or choose a theme. We host a yearly “Soup Day” in the cold winter months, and ask our management to bring in a few crockpots of homemade soups and bread for the office. It costs nothing for the company to host, but it certainly warms a lot of hearts.
7) Do some research about your town, and seek out the hidden gems. We called our local college and found that they had private billiards, bowling, and game rooms for rent for under $100! It’s amazing what you can find with a little asking around! Try contacting local colleges or looking into offbeat venues that might not have a lot of promotion or glamour on the outside. You might just find something wonderful hidden behind doors you never thought to open.