Having fun is a key element when you’re building a cohesive, successful and powerful project team.
When you get it right, it helps to build on the team culture. When you get it wrong? Well, we’ve all been there.
In this article, I’m going to give you the playbook for successfully implementing fun on your project team whether your team is asynchronous (works different hours to each other) or synchronous (has the same working hours) and whether they’re all based in the same physical location, or work remotely.
Before you jump ahead to choosing the types of activities you might like to do, let’s lay out a bit of a playbook for how you should approach fun within your project team.
Give your team a reason to attend
As with all project team activity, the best results come when the team understand how it benefits them.
Start by talking to them. Explain your reasons for wanting to set up activities outside of work tasks and accept feedback.
Be clear on how the team defines ‘fun’ and the intended activities
While the reasons for team fun may be clear, the way we have fun is arguably the secret ingredient.
Fun can mean lots of different things to different people. You can have fun while still working, or by doing something completely outside of work.
Ideally the team will incorporate fun across both, but get their input on how they actually want to have fun, including the types of activities they’d like to explore.
Take the interests of everyone into consideration
I’m sure we’ve all realised by now that the ‘let’s go out on a boozy night’ days have evolved.
Sure, this may appeal to some, but it’s important to acknowledge that this doesn’t appeal to everyone so factor this in (and apply your creative thinking skills).
Create time to allow fun activities on work time and give notice
Don’t force people to have to choose between attending work activities or fulfilling their personal commitments outside of work.
You need to allow your team to genuinely take part without feeling guilty. Giving enough notice of any activity will help your team to really show up, so they don’t need to compromise their work or personal responsibilities.
Set boundaries to how your team has fun
Set rules to maintain team respect by agreeing what is and isn’t acceptable. Make sure that the choice of activities is compliant with company policy.
Be clear about who’s funding the fun
Sometimes funding can be the reason teams don’t organise social activities. But here’s the thing, if you didn’t consider the earlier points, it won’t matter if your budget is $1 million, the intention for initiating team activities probably won’t eventuate.
Even if the company budget is restricted, there are still plenty of ways teams can enjoy a laugh without spending any money at all.
Technology has enabled us to find more ways for teams to work together.
This can include teams who work on the same working hours (synchronous) and those who work at different times (asynchronous) or the traditional in-person model.
Regardless of your team’s working times and location, there are always multiple ways to incorporate fun into your work environment.
First, decide whether your activities will be part of the team’s work, be a non-work related activity held during work hours, or a non-work related activity held outside working hours.
Then, take a read through my suggestions below to spark some ideas for how you can bring fun into your project team.
Why not set some healthy competition while team members are performing their tasks to keep things fun and a little light-hearted?
A great use of integrating team fun with process improvement is setting challenges to reduce risk in areas that are currently considered as areas for improvement. This can include challenges and rewards to reduce the number of project defects, awarding result-based meetings and customer satisfaction awards.
Sometimes the only way to allow people to really relax and have fun is to remove work from the dialogue.
Non-work related fun you can have with your team during office hours includes things like lunch-time chess games, exercise challenges and book clubs.
Removing your team from the work environment completely every once in a while, is a great way for them to really have fun.
This type of fun is perfect for teams that are able to get together in person, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t also some great online options for teams that work remotely, or asynchronously.
Here are some ideas I have either used or seen work really well.
In-person Team Fun Ideas
Asynchronous & Remote Team Fun Ideas
Synchronous Team Fun Ideas
The power of taking the time and making the effort to implement fun into your project can significantly improve the performance of your project team.
It creates the opportunity to boost team morale, improve team member empathy and increase effective communication.
And, well… it’s fun!
What fun can you implement in your team, right now?
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