Tips for a Happier Workplace: Look to Camp


Jacquline Longo
Program Manager, Capacity Building


According to a study performed by the human resources consulting firm O.C. Tanner, employee recognition is the top motivator for producing great work. And happy employees are productive employees—up to 20% more productive than their colleagues. While efficient, quality work is the upside of happiness, there are serious downsides to unhappiness too. Studies performed by Gallup point to the dangers of disengagement, such as 37% high absenteeism and 60% more errors. "Recognize your colleagues and celebrate the small stuff." You've heard it before, and that's because it really does matter. We know this because acceptance, understanding, and recognition are as integral parts of our camp programs as play. If that's not enough proof, consider this: 

With stakes this high, why not make 2018 the year you inspire more joy? Below are a few ways we share happiness with our colleagues. They're camp-inspired, low cost, and simple. Adapt these ideas to suit your own office culture and, soon, you'll be spreading cheer (and productivity, too!).

Tidbit Tuesday

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Try sharing a favorite quotation, funny meme, or brief story about your organization's work to spread a little cheer each week. Who doesn't love a small and especially interesting bit of information now and then? Select a means of communication that makes sense for your team, whether it be email, a messaging platform, or that rarely-used white board. 

Lunch & Learn

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Ever wonder about a colleague's experience at a conference? Or want to share your team's latest breakthrough with other departments? Ask management if you can host a “Lunch and Learn” session. The idea is to share findings and experiences in a casual setting, such as lunch. This way no one loses out on work time (or their food!). Share the date and time with all employees and make attendance optional so staff can opt in or out based on schedules and interests.

Volunteer Recognition


Do employees volunteer through your organization? If so, consider recognizing those who've volunteered in the last month at your staff meeting (goofy hat or ribbon, anybody?). If not, consider kicking off a volunteer program or granting employees a week to volunteer at camp each summer. There's nothing quite like giving back, and your colleagues will thank you. 

You Rock

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This activity is a tangible way of saying “You Rock!” to coworkers, becasue a simple thank you can go a long way. One person starts with a rock, symbolizing a job well done, which they'll pass off to another employee as a quiet sign of praise and appreciation. If a rock seems out of place, substitute it with an object that aligns with organizational mission and culture.

Intentional Design


When you go to camp there's no doubt about it: you know you're there. The sight of blue skies and leafy trees, the promise of s'mores, and—most importantly—the feeling that you're being welcomed home. That's because SeriousFun camps and programs are designed intentionally. Facilities are built to be accessible, programs are made to be inclusive, and halls are decorated to spread joy.

Though you probably can't redesign your office, give the space some thought. Take note of pictures, lighting, set-up, and how it makes you feel. Now think about your mission. How might your space more tangibly embody the work you do?  

First Friday

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Looking to increase office energy or foster teamwork? Then give employees a reason to celebrate. Give staff creative licence and have one department host a game, event or lunch for the office on the first Friday of each month. Are you thinking along the lines of relay competitions, themed lunches, and human games of Clue, or are we? 

Supportive Snaps

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Incorporating camp doesn’t always mean playing games (though games can be pretty great). Supportive behavior embodies camp in a meaningful way by encouraging involvement. Instead of clapping or silently nodding next time you're in a meeting, offer up a few quick snaps. To ensure that this practice is inclusive and non-disruptive, we reserve snaps for idea sharing and words of encouragement.
Peer-to-peer Celebration


How do staff celebrate employee birthdays and promotions? Do you congratulate each other on successes? Culture plays a large role in employee-to-employee interaction. Make your own fun at the workplace by leaving  little notes, encouraging messages, or welcome signs on colleagues' desks.



We hope these simple tips help you create a happier workplace. For more information on SeriousFun Children's Network, visit or contact us at We welcome your ideas for infusing camp (and joy!) into the office.

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