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International Fun At Work Day

Wednesday April 1, 2014 for the Eighteenth Annual International Fun At Work Day!

This year's theme: Work Like Your Dog!

Ritch & Maya • Fran & Mikey • Terry & Hammy • Matt & Celeste

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."
   --Arnold Toynbee

Whenever we hear someone complaining, "My boss is working me like a dog," we simply ask the question, "Oh, really? Have you ever taken a moment to notice how your dog actually DOES spend her day? Today would be your lucky day if you were working like your dog!"

Dogs don’t make a distinction between work and play. Everything is fun to them, and every situation is a new one, full of infinite possibilities for joy and connection. We humans surely would be more successful in our jobs if we approached our work with the enthusiasm, dedication, sensitivity, and – in general – the wonderful attitude towards life of a good working dog.

So this Fun At Work Day, we invite you to Work Like Your dog! Here are some fun things you can do to celebrate:

  • Bring your dog to work.

  • "Bury a bone." Hide little gifts around the office for your co-workers to find.
  • Have everyone bring in photos of their pets, and have a contest to guess which pet goes with which person.
  • Practice giving positive re-enforcement and praise to those around you.
  • Be grateful for the simple things.


"We are participating in Fun At Work Day! We are planning an egg toss competition in line with the Easter Holiday, a potluck, 80’s music, and your shoe decorating exercise! Thanks so much for the work you do!"

Jerry Sullivan, M.Ed., LPC  Assistant Program Director
Transition Resource Action Center,
a program of Central Dallas Ministries


Past year's celebrations...

The Eleventh Annual International Fun At Work Day!

This year's celebration: "Have A Sundae On Our Fun Day!"

It's time to celebrate and have a little fun and remember how sweet life can be!

We invite you to pull up a chair, lift up a spoon, and create spectacular ice cream sundaes company-wide. It's not too early to start planning for the fun: Who's gonna bring the ice cream and who's bringing the whipped cream or hot fudge? Will the PR department's creations be a little nutty? Will sales go bananas? Is your CEO more like chocolate sprinkles or fresh strawberries? Perhaps a couple of departments can make sundaes for each other.

Whatever you do, just dig in and celebrate Fun At Work Day 2006.

Let the scooping begin!

Remember: The Company That Plays Together, Stays Together!


The Sixth Annual Fun at Work Day: Let's Do Lunch!

We invited everyone to pull up a chair, lift up a fork, and dig into a delicious company lunch to celebrate Fun At Work Day.

This was our Sample Menu of Ideas:

Treat the entire company to lunch, and have the officers of the company serve the food.
Ask your competitor over for lunch, or invite your vendors to your potluck.
Guess who made what. Anonymously put all the potluck dishes on a table. A large number is placed by each item. Pass out paper with numbers on it. Have everyone try to guess who made each dish. The one with the most correct answers is first in line to be served for the feast!
Invite a local Chef to your company for a demonstration/lecture during lunch of "fast meals for busy professionals."
Have two different departments in your company meet for lunch. (Each department can be responsible for a different part of the meal.)
Have everyone bring a dish with a personal story behind it: an ethnic specialty, your kid's favorite, your favorite deli's special. Share your stories.


The Origin of Playfair's International Fun at Work Day

In 1996 Playfair created International Fun at Work Day – a joyous and playful, yet absolutely serious, effort to increase awareness of the importance of bringing a playful attitude to work.

If you look in Chase's Official Calendar of Events, you will see that April 1st (or the first Thursday in April, if April 1 falls on a weekend) has been officially designated as International Fun At Work Day.

When you decide what you and/or your company will do to celebrate, please let us know. Tell us your Fun At Work Day plans! We'd like to include you in this international event by letting other companies and the media know of your participation.

A Note on April Fool's Day: Initially we were hesitant to associate Fun At Work Day with a traditional day focusing on foolishness. Then we realized it was actually the perfect time to spotlight the notion that fun, especially at work, does not have to equal foolish.

At Playfair , we are proponents of non-toxic humor, i.e. humor that is not sarcasm or put-down, and joke-telling that does not depend upon making any particular group or minority the butt of the joke in order to be funny.

And that includes the kind of practical jokes usually associated with April Fool's Day – situations where the humor is derived from one person being made a fool of by falling for someone else's set-up.

Now, there's nothing wrong with being a little foolish sometimes – as long as we are the ones deciding for ourselves to play the fool, not making someone else volunteer for the part. And, it's also possible to have plenty of fun without being foolish at all.

So, Playfair is on a mission to re-frame April Fool's Day and re-create it as April Fun Day!

Previous International Fun At Work Days

At prior International Fun At Work Day events, reports of fun celebrations came streaming into the Playfair office from all around the globe. Here are a few choice samples:

In Spain, Fun At Work Day was celebrated as a mock political demonstration, a "March for Fun" to the Ministry of Work headquarters in Madrid. The marchers all wore bowler hats and carried briefcases and umbrellas and held protest signs demanding "Sierada, Si, Solemnidad, No!" You can see a video of the March at:  http://www.adn.es/ciudadanos/20080401/NWS-0834-trabajo-humor-marcha-madrid-diversion.html

At Sprint headquarters in Kansas City it was Beach Day, as a parking lot was transformed into a beach, with sand trucked in, live music, and sunglasses and plastic leis for all the "vacationing" employees.

Sandy Condellire reports that "in the Global Service Center (call center) of MasterCard International the employees celebrated the day as "Dress Your Supervisor/Manager Day. Anyone with direct reports was dressed up by their employees. We had a few ground rules; had to be gender specific and no skin! We had supervisors dressed as nuns, biker chicks, in pajamas, as a policeman, Elvis, a Wiseman, a "used car salesman" and a Joker. We laughed a lot and really had a good time! We still handled calls like we normally would, but enjoyed the day all the more!"

"Moonstruck Chocolate Company in Portland, Oregon will be hosting our 4th annual employee Easter egg hunt on Have Fun at Work Day," writes Joanna Lawler, the Director of Human Resources at Moonstruck Chocolate. "During this fun event, we hide over 500 plastic eggs around the building while all the employees are enjoying our monthly birthday luncheon. The eggs are filled with numbers which correspond to prizes that employees come to the HR office to claim. Special "golden eggs" contain special prizes. It is such fun to see our employees racing around the building to find the eggs, I look forward to it every year!"

"You can now add Iceland to the 'Fun at work' day" writes Sigurthor Gunnlaugsson, Marketing Director of the Kringlan Shopping Center. "What I did here in the Kringlan Shopping Center management office was to ask everyone at the office to bring in their favorite hat. Then we asked them to take pictures of themselves with a digital camera. Then we posted all the pictures on the computer and asked the employees to vote on them. During the coffee break in the afternoon I brought in a cake which looked like a cowboy hat with candles on it which formed the shape of "K," the first letter in our company name. Then we had a little ceremony like at the Oscars and the winner was awarded with a big Easter egg made of chocolate. It was a lot of fun!!! I'm already sending out your newsletter to many of my marketing colleagues to make April 1st next year a Fun at Work Day in all of Iceland."

According to Amanda Uhlmann, Cable & Wireless Optus in Sydney, Australia, planned to hold a lottery to name floors in their building after staff members, "i.e., The Joni Gathercole Floor. We will put up a plaque near the regular floor directory, with their photo and where they sit, what they do for the company. 'Joni is a 29 year old bookkeeper who sits on the southside, with a lovely view over Sydney Harbour. She has worked for our company for 3 years. She takes her coffee black, with one sugar and has a tabby cat named Lola. If Joni were CEO for the day she would declare a pink day for breast cancer research and get everyone to come in wearing something pink#150;- the company would donate $1 for everyone who did.'"

EDS in Buffalo, New York recognized those leaders who created a fun environment for their employees by giving them the prestigious "Manager of Mirth Award." According to EDS manager Ben Levan, the criteria for the Manager of Mirth Award are:

1. Creates the Culture - leader appreciates, motivates and inspires their employees.
2. Knows their people - leader gives creative, timely and appropriate recognition.
3. Work is Fun - Leader finds ways to make serious work - fun!
4. Together we're better - Leader values and fosters creativity and teamwork.
5. Sets the example - Leader has a high sense of self-esteem, is able to take themselves lightly, and thereby manages their stress more effectively.

"We had scores of nominations from our employees," writes Ben, "and discovered that, since your visit with us from the previous year, our leaders had really worked hard to create an environment where people wanted to work." Their efforts are summarized in the following poem:

    Ladies and Gentlemen of EDS, the time is finally here
    To present a most prestigious award so please gather near
    I'd like to recognize those leaders who've worked hard to get the job done
    And somehow amidst the chaos & confusion have managed to have some fun
    They've thrown birthday bashes, sponsored go-cart crashes and played, "Dodge the Dice"
    They've counseled for free, paid for a shopping spree...hey, that's kinda nice
    They've stuffed us with food to alter our mood and then when we got fat
    They ran us in races, painted our faces and had us hit a ball with a bat
    They've had us putt in the halls, decorated our walls and then if that weren't enough
    They took us on cruises, with all sorts of boozes and kept us going when waters were rough
    So at this time, and I say it with rhyme to people all over the Earth
    Join with me here and give a big cheer to those deemed Manager of Mirth!"


Need More Fun Ideas?

Not sure what to do? Need help? Here are some other unusual ways to celebrate the day with your co-workers:

*Ask all employees to bring in baby photos or pet pictures or High School yearbook photos to post on the bulletin board. Then guess who's who.
*The Traveling Bouquet. Bring in a bouquet of flowers and present it to one of your co-workers. Tell him or her, I want you to keep this on your desk for the next half-hour. Then pass it on to someone else and tell them to do the same!
*Hold a Company Limo Lottery. Hold a lottery where the winner gets driven to and from work in the company limo. (If you don't have a company limo, rent one for the day!)
* Offer your employees some unusual gifts (like free housecleaning certificates) to celebrate the day.
* Take some Joy Breaks during the day and teach all your employees the art of scarf juggling. . .or play marbles together.
* Hire an On-site Masseuse for the day.
* Take a group photo portrait of your office mates dressed up for Clash Dressing Day ... or Polka Dots Day ... or Suspender Day ... or Pajama Day ... or Bad Hair Day!
* Dog Days of Spring: Let all employees bring their pets to work with them for this fun day celebration!
* Bring in some champagne (or sparkling apple juice) and take time to toast each other, your successes and your fabulous failures of the past few weeks.
* Hold an all-employee pizza party ... with the name of your company spelled out across the top of the pies in mushrooms!

Looking for even more fun ideas? Check out these other websites about laughter and play:

Steve Wilson:


Bernie DeKoven:


Joel Goodman:


Allen Klein:



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