Is It Friday Yet? Maintaining A Positive, Motivational and Fun Work Environment

It’s not Friday yet, but I am looking forward to the obnoxious Hawaiian shirts some of my coworkers wear as part of our Engineering Department’s unofficial Hawaiian Shirt Day each week. It’s a little thing, but it definitely helps lighten the mood and gives us all an opportunity to interact with each other.

Members of our Engineering Dept. on Friday’s Hawaiian Shirt Day.

Since the economy went south, many companies and engineering firms have had to trim costs wherever they can to survive. Fancy holiday parties turned into potlucks in the break room, the softball team lost its sponsorship, and my personal favorite, plastic sporks in the lunch room to reduce the cost of forks and spoons. Have you ever tried to eat soup with a spork?

After reminiscing a bit on some of the past activities that may never return, I started thinking about all of the simple, inexpensive things we can do as individuals (and as companies) to improve our mental and physical health. I mused on the difficulties of fitting in a vacation in a previous post, but how many of you find it hard to get away from your desk even for a lunch break? Take that time to do something good for yourself. Go to the gym, ride your bike, take a walk, organize a yoga group, join a pick-up soccer game, or a battle of full-contact ping pong. For example, in honor of the Summer Olympic Games, Simpson Strong-Tie hosted our own “Summer Olympics”.

Members of the Engineering Dept. compete in our “Summer Olympics”.

Doesn’t the photo above look uncannily like these?

How about getting a group together to volunteer at a local charity? It can be so rewarding to pound a few nails at a Habitat for Humanity build, sort food at a food bank, or brighten the day of a needy animal at your local shelter. Organize teams for a scavenger hunt through the office. Start Smoothie Thursday.

For managers, the lowest cost motivational boost might come from an acknowledgement of your employees’ hard work with a simple, “Thank you, you’re doing a great job and I really appreciate all of your hard work.”

I came across a list of “Rambling Thoughts” written by our founder Barclay Simpson in 1974. The first and last thoughts on the list seem appropriate here:


When fate bludgeons us, and friends and fortune appear to desert us, keep one option always open – your attitude.

16.  Keep it light. It really isn’t that important.

What are some of the things you or your company do to help foster a positive attitude, maintain your motivation and sanity, and help get through the week to Friday Hawaiian Shirt Day? Let me know by posting a comment!

– Paul

3 thoughts on “Is It Friday Yet? Maintaining A Positive, Motivational and Fun Work Environment

  1. What helps me get through the week is keeping a healthy relationship with my co-employees and basically loving my work. I get attached to a project so much that sometimes I hate weekends and can’t wait to get back to work. 

    • Your personal life should never be less important than your work life. Work is simply what we have to do to make money. Should you enjoy it absolutely but you shouldn’t enjoy it more than not being at work.

  2. Pingback: Remembering Barclay Simpson | Structural Engineering Blog

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