By Tamsin Green
A great office culture doesn’t require millions of dollars (or a slide in the middle of the office). What it does require is a focus on the employee and a commitment to infusing fun into the work day. Here are a few ways to brighten employees’ days for minimal cost.
1. The Art of the Food Cart
What: A few times a year we roll around a cooler or cart with food or beverages for employees. In the past we’ve handed out ice cream treats on the first really hot day of summer, offered drinks, and most recently served hot pretzels to congratulate employees on a successful product launch.
Why: Free food is great, but in many places it’s frequently leftovers from board meetings, client meetings, donor meetings, and the like. Free food specifically for employees (especially brought to their desk) shows appreciation that room-temperature chicken and vegetables just can’t match.
Tips: The more variety the better, as it lets people choose. The cost of the more expensive Skinny Cow ice cream bars is offset by the low cost of those sundae cups you used to get in the school cafeteria.
Cost: Generally under $1 per item, plus extras (ice, dipping sauces, etc.)
2. New Employee Gifts
What: When employees start at the Fool they each receive a jester cap.
Why: The jester cap let’s people know that we’re serious about being a Foolish community. It reflects our organization’s culture and immediately welcomes new Fools.
Tips: Buy wholesale rather than retail to reduce costs and make sure you always have the item in stock.
Cost: Depends on the item, but it can be done for $3 or less per employee.
3. Mark Employee Anniversaries
What: Every year on an employee’s Fooliversary (the anniversary of their hiring date), Fools receive a gift and a balloon. For 5, 10, 15 and soon to be 20 year anniversaries, employees receive balloon bouquets.
Why: Marking employee anniversaries sends a message of recognition for the employee’s time and service.
Tip: If gifts fall outside of budgetary constraints, even just balloons can make a big impact.
Cost: Balloons can vary in cost but can be purchased for very little. A disposable helium tank costs around $30 and can fill 30-50 balloons depending on size. Gifts can vary in cost depending on your budget.