Picture a typical Monday morning: you’re dragged out of barely 7 hours of sleep by an abrasive alarm, you didn’t get as much done as you planned to during the weekend, and you have to deal with all the work you put off from last week. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re finally at 8 coffees on your card at your favorite coffee shop so you can get your coffee – which no other coffee shop does quite right – for free.
Every once in a while people can use some extra motivation – whether it be for getting out of bed in the morning before work, tackling those dishes in the sink, or giving your A-game at work. A workplace can embrace this and add a friendly element of competition to motivate employees to give it their all, build comradery amongst staff, and help create a fun work environment.
Creating entertaining, mini contests at work is a great way to achieve this. You do however need to make sure the prize is also worth the effort, because competition is sometimes not enough motivation by itself. Some ways you can reward the winners of your contest:
- Flex days
- “Passes” for early dismissal or late entry
- Knickknacks like notebooks, mugs, toys, etc.
- Bags of candy – or maybe something healthy
- A new computer monitor for their work station
- Free lunch
And these are just a few ways you can incentivize; almost anything can be a prize.
So try out one or more of these fun contest ideas, figure out what the rewards are, and see how it helps boost your workplace productivity!
Reaching the goal
The most common contests at work involve sales or other performance targets. Keeping a visual tally of peoples’ progress not only helps them keep track of their own goals, but it is a visual representation of who is “winning.” This can be as simple as a whiteboard with a tally or something more creative; for example, there can be race cars representing each employee on a track with each sale – or indicator of success – moving the employee’s car further along.
Speaking of creativity, you can also use contests to help boost employees’ ingenuity – and being able to be creative is important to employees.
One idea is to separate everyone into teams – preferably by department if it works out – and have each team create artwork for an empty wall or space in the office. The winners don’t only get the prize, but they also get their art used and recognized.
Another creativity contest for work involves some good wordsmithing. Every Monday put a picture on a whiteboard in a meeting room or common area that employees typically encounter. Have people write what the “caption” would be and at the end of the week take a tally to see who has the winning headline. The winner either gets a reward, chooses the image for next week, or both.
Who can fix a problem?
A benefit of contests at work is that you can make the competition be providing information, insight, or any idea that will help solve an issue the company might be facing. All it takes is an email to employees presenting the problem and saying what the winning idea gets. A few examples of this:
- Your company builds websites, and a client’s website isn’t performing as well as expected. Who can give the best strategy to turn it around, the reasoning for the lack of performance, or both?
- A retail store is seeing steadily decreasing sales through the year. What are some cost-effective ways to help stop the trend?
- A lawyer needs a fresh perspective on their case. Who in the office can help think of a different way of looking at the facts and give another direction he or she can explore?
You’ll be surprised at the response you get – not just for whatever the reward is, but whoever wins will feel great for positively solving such an important issue.
Make it a game
Nothing helps with motivation and participation like a little fun. This can be just for general morale boosting and stress relief at work, or it can help promote a healthier lifestyle.
A popular workplace contest is replicating the Biggest Loser show. Aside from the benefits of competition, it also motivates participants to make healthy lifestyle changes – and it doesn’t hurt for health insurance costs either. To help competing employees train for the games, you can also send out a newsletter or email that gives tips on how to exercise at the office. You should also consider ordering healthier snacks during the length of the competition.
These are just a few contests you can use to stimulate healthy competition, boost creativity and productivity, and create a better overall work environment. What kinds of contests have you held at your workplace – and what kinds of benefits have you seen come from them?