BREAKING OUT OF OFFICE ROUTINES « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Enhancing Employee Morale and Productivity with Workforce Competitions

In the never-ending quest to promote worker morale on the job, employers are offering an expanding range of clearly creative outlets and opportunities to escape workplace stresses.   A search around the web will reveal, for example:

  • Office Ping Pong; an Australian software enterprise now dedicates a blog to its in-house table tennis competitions.  The company’s new office now features “touch screen TV that shows the office rankings, custom bat holders and special grooves to house 20 balls so you’re never short.” Become a ping-pong ninja!;
  • Taco Tuesday:  employees of a California real estate firm unwind in their parking lot, complete with “gourmet food” coach of choice;
  • Office Olympics: for flat fees, another Australian-based company will organize or provide do-it-yourself instructions for a workplace Olympiad, with sessions between 15 minutes and two hours.
  • National Junk Food Day Cupcake Social: this past July, an on-line apparel business held its second annual “Cupcake Social” at a local bistro in honor of National Junkfood Day. As they explain: “We really weren’t kidding when we said we love our junk food around here!”
  • Laughter Yoga:  the same apparel company had previously hosted a “laughter yoga” class.  The firm writes: “ For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, laughter yoga is meant to release ‘feel-good’ hormones called endorphins, which in turn boost positive state of mind, optimism and helps strengthen the immune system. With all those awesome benefits, laughter yoga is definitely nothing to laugh at!”

Of course, management must balance all this potential morale-building with steps to minimize the chances of the fun leaving the rails.  For instance, business should have written procedures and rules for:

♦    Prevention of sexual and other harassment.  See, for example, “Office Holiday Survival Guide III: Harassment Hotbed”;

♦    Prevention of accidents and injuries;

♦    Proper definitions for work and off-work hours.  Workplace “play time” may be actually be compensable work time if participation is expected or even required and if the purpose is primarily work-related.

When in doubt, let an experienced labor and employment legal firm assist you with the needed policies.