One of the sure signs of a healthy organizational culture is that people laugh together. When I think about the times I have worked with a great team, having fun was always part of the equation.
Decades later, I still smile when I think about the fake purchase orders that we would slip into our boss’s pile to sign upon his return from vacation. We requisitioned a car one year and an office yacht the next. While, of course, we never ordered such extravagances, we did post the signed copy on the office bulletin board for months, just “waiting for delivery.”
When he caught on to our pranks, the following year we made flyers to invite everyone to “Brucefest” at his home. While they were not distributed, we pretended that they were, and prompted people to ask him for directions or to tell them what food to bring. In the end, he relented and actually hosted a great picnic, even though he knew it was all a set up.
At another institution, we commandeered the university president to join in our folly as he wrote, and then read at a farewell party, a letter from a “lawyer” claiming irreparable harm to a client who had been in a tiny fender bender in a university van driven by the exiting employee. This same president also ribbed a new employee on her first day, joining in with others to proclaim she was violating a sacrosanct (but fake) “no denim” rule by wearing a denim vest. I still smile when I think of Jen and her denim all these many years later.
I could recount many more antics of which I was a participant or a target – all in good fun. It is the camaraderie in pulling off the laugh that adds to the teamwork, and the shared story that bonds individuals and shapes the culture.
Think about how you can add some harmless fun to your workplace. Being just a little bit of a rascal is good for everyone’s morale.