There are certain times in the year when the pressure can seem overwhelming. For our CPA clients and friends, that time starts now - and lasts through April 15 (and sometimes longer). For others, there may be quarterly or year-end deadlines or even weekly hurdles that provide extra pressure.
When people tell me to “just relax” or “loosen up” when a deadline is looming, it’s much easier said than done. However, if I stop to have a good laugh – especially with others – the path to the finish line somehow becomes clearer and seemingly easier to manage. My list of “to-dos” were weighing me down at the end of last week when I stumbled upon a link to a fun flash mob video produced by and starring CPA firm WithumSmith+Brown, performed to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” as a follow up to their first “famous” “I Gotta Feeling” flash mob video. Not only did watching the video make me laugh and interrupt the “worry” of my task list, it reminded me that we all should have that much fun every once in a while – even at work.
Though WithumSmith+Brown must have a lot on their plate with a recent merger with EisnerLubin, which has offices in New York City where part of the new video takes place, more than 150 team members dedicated time over a six week period to practice for this endearingly goofy video shoot. The camaraderie among team members – led by their truly fearless leader, Bill Hagaman, Managing Partner and CEO - is evident in this video. I started to think things like, “Wow. It must be fun to be a team member at that firm” and “I bet they get their fair share of recruits for internships, college graduates for entry level spots, and even experienced workers who like to have a little fun on the job.”
I think we can all strive to have a little more fun on the job, especially when the pressure is high. Perhaps we can’t all get our team to dance on a subway or a busy sidewalk, but we can engage in other stress relievers and have some fun as a group. Building a culture of fun attracts talent, relieves stress, and bonds you as a team. It can also:
- Stimulate creativity
- Motivate team members
- Enhance communication and appreciation of individual differences, especially with those you may not typically connect with
- Provide renewed focus on tasks at hand once the fun activity is over
- Increase productivity when you create needed “break time” (whereas working straight through breaks and lunch periods can actually decrease productivity)
Try one or more of these “fun” stress busters during your firm’s busy period:
- Hold theme dress days with prizes for the most outrageous costumes
- Have an office or neighborhood scavenger hunt
- Play childhood games like musical chairs or “duck-duck-goose”
- Have “themed” potlucks, such as Italian, Mexican, Caribbean, or Thai or a chili cook-off
- Bring special treats in house every couple weeks to wind down at the end of the day together
- Bring in lunch and show “favorite” YouTube or other videos in the firm conference room (appropriate submissions only, of course)
- Set up a “fun room” with a dart board, putting green, Wii, Xbox, or PlayStation console (ask team members to bring their favorite games), board games like chess or Scrabble, or even game tables (like ping pong, air hockey, or foosball) if you have the space and encourage all staff levels to get together on breaks and lunch hours
When I am under pressure, a break and a good laugh can make the whole day seem so much brighter and more manageable. I hope you can have a bit of fun with the video links in this blog and will consider implementing one or more of the stress busters suggested here.
What helps you release stress during your busy times? Please share how your firm loosens up and beats the stressful periods so others can benefit.
P.S. For more ideas to build positivity during peak times, attend our Harness the Power of Positive Thinking and Manage Stress Positively web seminar on March 20th. More information is available at www.convergencelearning.com.