Most offices have regular team lunches or occasional happy hours. But others? Well, let's just say we've seen companies that really take their office traditions above and beyond—from planning awesome team retreats to hiring monthly food trucks to hosting a full-blown annual company prom.
And who couldn't use a little more fun in the work week? If you're looking to add some variety into the way your company or team does business, get inspired by these awesome traditions.
1. Make Meetings Fun
Every office has meetings, but some companies go the extra mile to make them fun. Every Friday, for example, Klout holds an "All Hands" State of the Union meeting. Drinks are handed out, the new hires shotgun their beers, and everyone gets an update on the business of the week. At dating startup HowAboutWe's town hall meetings, employees write down 2-3 questions on sticky notes to ask of other members of the team. As a result, everyone has a great time asking—and telling—each other about all the cool stuff going on around the office.
2. Enlist the Team in Making the Office Great
San Francisco-based Pocket Gems has invested in making its office an amazing place to work—and in getting everyone involved in the effort. Each team member is given $100 to use in a creative way that contributes to the office environment and work space for everyone to enjoy. Employees frequently pool their funds for big-ticket items—which have ranged from a ping pong table to a keg. The result? An office that Pocket Gems employees find a fun and an inspiring place to work.
3. Make Team Retreats Better
Sick of "retreats" at a campsite spent doing "team building" exercises? SendGrid's (much more awesome) yearly retreats give employees a chance to let loose and spend some quality time bonding. Traveling to exotic locales like Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the retreat is filled with fun games and lots of free time to chill out, enjoy the scenery, and build genuine friendships outside the office.
4. Get Everyone Communicating
At the end of each week, Warby Parker employees pull together an email with four things: what they’ve accomplished this week, what they’re planning to do next week, one idea for innovation at Warby, and their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s a great way to keep everyone in tune with what’s going on, and it’s a good reminder that the company really does want its employees to be happy.
5. Food Trucks for All!
Food trucks are a shared love at LA-based EdgeCast, and once a month different food venues swing by for delicious catered lunches. From tacos to In-N-Out burgers to grilled cheese sandwiches, mobile gastronomical delights keep the team happy, well fed, and hungry to work some more.
6. Hold a Hack Day (or Week!)
We love the idea of hackathons, where employees (technical or not) get to choose a creative idea they want to make happen in one jam-packed day. At Pinterest, one recent project involved creating a real-life pinboard to for the Pinterest office wall. At Shutterstock’s annual 24-hour hackathon, employees compete for exciting prizes and a chance to have their project officially funded and launched by Shutterstock. And at Chartbeat, the development team gets a full hack week every six weeks to build their pet projects.
7. Host a Company Prom
Every summer, eco-friendly cleaning company Method throws a themed Prom Night—complete with planning committees, decorations, and photo booths. And yes, dressing up is mandatory. The team shows up camera-ready and spends the night enjoying each other’s company and capturing memories to last a lifetime—or at least until the next office party.
8. Start the Week Off Right
Happy hour on Friday is a given, but education startup Lore goes for Monday Night Beers. Come 7 PM on Monday, the team breaks out the drinks and relaxes together. Not a bad way to kick off the week!
9. Take Time Off
World Wildlife Fund wants its employees to feel inspired to save the planet’s natural resources, so, every other week, it gives the team a day off. Known as “Panda Fridays,” this bi-weekly break gives employees the opportunity to spend more time with their families or pursue outside interests—like writing a book about raising children green or finishing a paper about innovative global conservation efforts.
10. Give Cool Anniversary Gifts
No boring plaques or trophies here—some companies give out truly awesome swag on employees' one year anniversaries. Groupon employees are rewarded for the accomplishment with a Groupon-green track jacket—complete with their name embroidered on—and Birchbox staffers get a pair of hot pink sneakers!
11. Host Movie Nights
Who doesn’t love occasionally being able to let loose with their favorite friends? At PureWow, you’ll often find the team doing exactly that. With their Movie Night tradition, everyone will lounge in the office after hours, order take-out, and crack open some bottles of wine.
12. Have Adult-Style Playtime
Once a month, employees at microfinance organization Kiva enjoy what we’ve all missed since our grade-school days: Recess. Everyone takes 30 minutes off of work to enjoy food, music, and unstructured playtime at the office—and its all sponsored by Kiva.
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