Keeping employees energized, enthusiastic, and engaged in
their work is a constant challenge. I have ventured into countless numbers
of companies to facilitate seminars, where cultures of “terminal
seriousness” are pervasive, and staff looks as if they’re on death row.
A recent study showed that almost 80 percent of all work-related injuries
and illnesses are stress-related.
Companies are starting to acknowledge the need to
“lighten up” and inject some fun into the fundamentals of business. Here
are just a few suggestions that have improved morale, teamwork, and
productivity for my clients.
Terry Braverman (left) during one of his lively and humoristic sessions.
Start a Monday morning off with “humor impact
aerobics”. Within a time frame of two-three minutes, this will reenergize
your staff after a long weekend and reconnect everyone in the spirit of
teamwork. Everyone stands next to each other in a line or circle. Direct
them to raise their right arm and shake out their hand, then left arm/left
hand. Now have them shake out their right leg, then left leg. Next, right
arm/right leg, left arm/left leg, right arm/left leg, left arm/right leg. It
will look like an epileptic support group, and the room will fill with
laughter as some struggle to maintain their balance. And as we all know,
Thais love to laugh and giggle. Now, using their right hand, they take the
left hand of the person on their right, and shake their hand (the person on
their left will be shaking their left hand). Finally, have them face the
front of the room and take a deep breath with a slow exhale. Now they are
primed and pumped for the day’s tasks!
If you find staff morale or energy levels sagging in
mid-day, take them aboard the “massage train.” Have them stand one
behind the other, throw their hands way up in the air and stretch, then drop
the hands onto the shoulders of the person in front of them, and rub. Then
reverse the line 180 degrees and repeat the process. This need not take more
than a few minutes, just to reignite the energy level by kinesthetically
You may want to render your own version of what I call
the “Worst Work Experience of the Week Award.” I worked for a bank that
was beset by low morale among the tellers, who constantly feared dealing
with troublesome customers. So on Fridays we started to reward the teller
who was voted the best (most horrific) story about a difficult customer with
a prize. It dramatically improved morale and increased customer satisfaction
because tellers were now seeking out those hard-to-please patrons to win the
award. Customers responded by becoming more civil, as a result of the
When appropriate humor and fun becomes embedded in a
company’s culture, employees feel more relaxed, resourceful, and ready to
contribute to the business. Let the good times roll!
Terry Braverman is a Los Angeles-based author,
professional speaker, and trainer. This article is an excerpt from his book,
‘When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Lighten Up!’