Getting to relax and to enjoy yourself at the office is not the same as “all play and no work”. Having fun is said to lower stress levels, to help build a socially connected learning environment, and to increase productivity by an average 12%. Let’s all remember this figure in case someone tries to object to Friday Happy Hour!
But whatever the benefits for the company’s bottom line might be, truth is that we sometimes just need a break. Find out how some of our team members brighten the mood during their working days, both remote and in person.
Felix, Team Lead Online Marketing — SEO
Before InterNations went remote first, my favorite way of having fun at work was the foosball table on our floor. I’m sure there are online foosball games you can play remotely, but it just wouldn’t be the same as the real thing.
Instead, my team has introduced some meeting formats purely for socializing. For example, we have a virtual coffee break with our colleagues from the Business Intelligence Team on a regular basis. Sometimes, we get a very lively discussion going. At other times, we’ll just talk about the latest COVID-19 news.
Speaking of COVID-19 updates: Now that most restrictions have lifted in Munich, some team members will probably come back to the office more often. I also want to go there at some point and see what’s happened to that foosball table …
Salim, Senior Corporate Graphic Designer
For me, having fun at work means getting to let my creativity run free. Sometimes, this is part of my actual job. For instance, we have several official brand characters — cartoon figures to represent our target audience and help our brand come to life. For our marketing campaigns, I might need to design some illustrations that put these characters into quirky or playful situations. This is the kind of offbeat task I enjoy working on.
But I also love creating virtual greeting cards for the colleagues from my department. Since we’re now working remotely, we can no longer simply buy cards to sign for birthdays, company anniversaries, weddings, etc. So, I’ve started designing personalized animated cards for these occasions. I always try to come up with new design ideas that reflect my colleagues’ hobbies, heritage, or personality.
Sherif, Software Engineer
There was always lots going on back at the InterNations office, not just foosball. You might walk into the team lodge and stumble upon one of our engineers practicing the guitar during lunch break. And thanks to a former colleague, we also got to have some epic console games. He brought along a gaming console and hooked it up to a projector. You could always find someone to challenge to a spontaneous Super Mario Bros or Street Fighter battle after work.
Our online coffee chats are quality time, too, because there’s usually plenty to catch up on. But these virtual activities still feel like a bit of uncharted territory for me to navigate. Sometimes, I find myself missing the easy spontaneity of working on location. If you work remotely, even your fun times need scheduling!
I’ve now started organizing in-person after-work drinks with another colleague from engineering. He lives in a high-rise apartment building with its own little rooftop terrace, not too far from my neighborhood. It’s the perfect place for a chat in the evening, though it’s been a little cold during the winter months in Munich.
Aristea, Human Resources Intern
I haven’t been working at InterNations for very long. But though I only started my remote internship less two months ago, I started off on a very positive note. The introductions I had are just an example of how structured and well organized my onboarding has been. Not to mention that, when I first joined my team’s bi-weekly meetings, everyone was really relaxed and welcoming.
Some other colleagues, who aren’t even part of my team, have also reached out to me via our messenger app. Since I’m from Greece and they have Greek roots as well, they took the initiative to introduce themselves. It was really sweet of them and made my welcome much more personal.
And I found out that I can goof around with the people from my team, too. I recently called one of my colleagues because I needed her help. But when I tried to share my screen, I accidentally switched to another presentation mode instead. I must have suddenly looked like a news anchor reading the weather forecast on TV. No wonder that she couldn’t stop laughing! We were then playing around with various presentation modes for the rest of our call. It gave a very different touch to our conversation.
Margit, Senior Content & Communications Manager
I also miss the spontaneity of office life sometimes. Not necessarily console games or foosball matches, but just walking over to someone’s desk to strike up a conversation.
So, depending on everyone’s schedule and workload, I’ve taken to calling people out of the blue. Messaging them would probably be more efficient if I have a simple question or just need to clarify a few points. But I think it’s nice to hear their voice and find out what they’ve been up to lately. They might have won a sports competition, want to share a book recommendation, or just discuss their pets’ latest antics.
For the same reason, I really enjoy our company-wide coffee lottery. Everyone who joins is assigned a coffee date with a random colleague every week. I must admit that I don’t always manage to reach out to them, depending on how busy I am. Still, I very much appreciate the opportunity to socialize — especially with those team members I don’t actually work with and would have no excuse for calling!
Kamila, Senior Business Analytics Manager
For some of us, working remotely and messaging other team members is the perfect opportunity to have entire conversations in GIFs only.
Franziska, Team Lead Product Content
Image credits: InterNations / Pexels / BBC Studios / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment