The Enjoyable Workplace: 8 Springtime Joy Breaks

flowersLily Tomlin once said, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”

The antidote to exhaustion may not be more rest…but adding something joyful to your day instead. It can be challenging to do that, though, once you get into overdrive.

Joy Breaks may be your answer. One to ten-minute Joy Breaks can renew you throughout the day. When you let yourself have a few moments of enjoyment, your mood lifts—and your productivity and effectiveness increase dramatically.

Business guru Tom Peters maintains, “The number one premise of business is that it ought to be fun.

Life is short. On your deathbed, you won’t remember all the things you accomplished on your TO DO list; you’ll mainly remember the precious moments of enjoyment.

Anything that stimulates the creative mind is a good place to start. If you can learn to switch back and forth between work and play throughout the day, you may find you leave the office with a bounce in your step.

Gain the support of those around you by letting them know what you need, and where possible, include them. Instead of reaching for another coffee or a chocolate bar, consider some of these healthy alternatives for uplifting your spirit, relaxing your mind, and energizing your body. These ideas were taken from a list of the most popular ideas in North American workplaces both small and large:

1. Flowers

Go outside with a pair of clippers. Clip a few flowers. Put them in a vase, and place them in your work area.

2. Music

Play Baroque music to open up your creativity and soothe your mind. I suggest Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (especially Spring). Use a headset if you don’t want to disturb others nearby.

3. Mini-Golf in the Office

Many people love golf in the Spring, but don’t have the time to get to the course. Take a few golf clubs and golf balls to each department. Have each department create a golf-hole—use whatever you can find: paper cup, trash can, etc. When you need to go to another department for a meeting or to get some information, you simply “golf” your way there. You can keep track of your score. Those who get a hole-in-one get a special prize.

4. Easy Button

EasyAt most Staples stores you can buy the “Easy” button. Give one to each of your workmates. When any of you finishes a task big or small, hit the button and it will say “That was easy!”. Hearing that all day long gives people a sense of fun productivity and maybe even a little bit of competition to get more things done easily.

5. Wall of Fun

Set up a wall in a staff area for fun stuff. On a bulletin board put cartoons, favourite joke, fun photos from a staff event. One person each month is responsible for supplying material for the “fun wall”, but anyone can contribute.

6. Gratitude Walk

Go for a ten-minute walk. Observe five things you are grateful for or appreciate—such as the trees and flowers starting to bloom again, cloud formations, sunshine, the sound of children playing, the comfortable shoes you are wearing, etc.

7. Vacation Planning

As we head closer to summer, you can take ten-minute breaks to plan your time off. Peruse travel books, make hotel reservations, write a note to relatives telling how you’d like to spend time with them, etc.

8. Fun Lunchtimes 

Take a dance class, bring a sketchpad for drawing, play badminton with a colleague on the lawn, take a bike ride, play double-solitaire with a workmate.

Use some of these activities, or make up your own. Create a list of 8 things you can go do when your energy slumps, and put that list in a place where you will see it.

Every time you do a Joy Break, check that activity off the list. Some people go so far as to give themselves a gold star. Positive reinforcement can help make joy a regular occurrence, and help you kick the worry habit.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

May the FUN be with you!


Carla Rieger…is an expert on fun at work and change management. If you are planning a meeting and need a great speaker go to:  604-222-2276

Email carla [at] carlarieger [dot] com