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Kokoro's avatar

How do I throw a de-stress party?

Asked by Kokoro (1413 points ) January 10th, 2012

I work in an admin job that is overwhelming for everyone. Everyday we get more duties and work and it makes everyone grumpy. On a certain day while the workplace is closed I want to throw a little “something” for my co-workers to de-stress. However, I need to save money and want to keep it helpful/fun but also affordable. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

How about getting everyone to a park (outside) or a rec center (inside) for an hour intro to yoga class? Just some easy stuff to help stretch and relax and relieve stress. Probably cost you $40 or $50 for an instructor’s time.

marinelife's avatar

What about an event to help the community? Sprucing up a park or playground? Getting packages together for servicemen overseas. People could expend themselves physically and feel good doing it.

jazmina88's avatar

i say vices…...cigarettes, booze, valium

why not bowling??

Jeruba's avatar

This is a nice, well-intentioned idea, but I have to suggest reconsidering.

In decades of office work, I observed this phenomenon again and again: there are always some people who want to get together socially with their coworkers during off hours (or even during working hours) and think the idea is fun. They don’t seem to notice that a whole other group of coworkers hate the idea. To them, that’s exactly the same as being asked to put in extra hours of work during their personal time. What they need is time away from their coworkers and not more time with them. Picnic, bowling, drinks, it doesn’t matter: to them it feels like an unwanted obligation, extra work time, and it’s the opposite of de-stressing.

Trying to “get everybody together” to do anything they’re not required to do by their job (whether it’s entertainment or volunteer work) is going to be a huge imposition on some, who probably will not say anything out loud because they don’t want to single themselves out. They may not even admit it if asked directly and privately, because they don’t want to label themselves as “not a team player”—a fast track to the next layoff cut list.

I know this because I was always one of those, and we seemed always to know each other. We would whisper quietly among ourselves, moaning about it and asking each other if we dared to miss the event. Usually we didn’t. And we always felt it as a huge burden.

In general I’ve observed that introverts try really hard to be understanding of extroverts, but extroverts don’t seem to realize that not everyone shares their enthusiasms. “Aw, come on, it’ll be fun!” (By nature the extroverts are always more conspicuous—and for that reason they often seem more numerous than they are.) Some job skills are not compatible with extrovert qualities, and those jobs truly are best filled by people who are quiet, focused, and perhaps even a bit socially isolated. And they don’t want to go to office social events.

The issue isn’t forcing people to attend. I know you will say “No one has to come who doesn’t want to.” Over the years those people have learned that it’s better not to admit they don’t want to. But it will still be painful for them.

I think the best thing is always to let people unwind in their own way, with the workplace as far from their minds as possible.

Kardamom's avatar

I agree with Jeruba 100%. But what you could do instead, is simply pick a day each month and (you) bring in a big batch of cookies or donuts or even 2 of those big sandwiches (one meat and one veg). Then just send out an e-mail that there are snacks in the lunchroom. I know that one small gesture like this used to get everyone out of their funk, at least for a little while, but since the stuff is just sitting in the breakroom, no one feels obligated to “show up for the party.” Everyone can just go in or not go in at their leisure.

mrrich724's avatar

These parties happen every day. . . it’s called “Happy Hour” . . . it’s incredibly cheap too! Just the cost of your own drinks.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with @Kardamom‘s suggestion.

I just started teaching a new semester yesterday. First day is always stressful for everyone. Registrar’s office was a zoo.

But right in the faculty/staff lounge were two huge baskets filled with granola bars, fruit, cookies, and bottled water. What’s more, they installed one of those Kuerig one-cup coffee makers and stocked the joint with over a dozen flavors of coffee.

It was great.

Jeruba's avatar

I like @Kardamom‘s suggestion too.

Here’s something I did a few times in my last (very stressful) office job: I sent out an e-mail to the group that said “Recess Time: 10:30. Milk and cookies in the breakroom.” I brought a gallon of milk and assorted cookies, and those who felt like partaking came and chatted around a table in the breakroom for about 15 minutes. Then we went back to work feeling refreshed.

Everybody who came said “What a great idea! Thank you!” And nobody thought anything at all about those who didn’t.

Kardamom's avatar

@Jeruba We also did something similar to that during the summer time, only we brought popsicles and assorted flavors of ice cream. Super casual, and no one thought anything of it, if some people didn’t come, plus there was plenty of ice cream left over for the shy folks to eat later, when the crowd had dispersed.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I agree with everything @Jeruba wrote. The exception would be the workplace paying for everyone to go together to get a massage.

filmfann's avatar

Start with Hawaiian shirts. I used to work on a very high stress crew, and when it got too much, we would all wear Hawaiian shirts. It’s just impossible to get stressed out when you are wearing one.

LostInParadise's avatar

Why not a pot luck lunch? We do these once or twice a year and they seem to work out well. The food tends to be pretty good, since everybody seems to have some specialty. Those who do not want to prepare anything can buy something from the grocery.

Kokoro's avatar

Thanks for the advice everyone! Sorry I wasn’t more clear, when I said I wanted to do something for my co workers I meant during work hours, since we won’t have to worry about patients coming in because we’d be closed for training. Thanks! I think I will go with the food suggestions, can’t go wrong with that… Guess I’d make a little speech about it

Jeruba's avatar

That does make it clearer. “Closed” implied outside of work hours.

Can’t go wrong with food as long as nobody is dieting, nobody is on some kind of food restriction, and nobody hates chocolate or whatever else you pick. Maybe include some fresh fruit—seedless red grapes, washed and snipped into little bunches, are popular—just to cover that angle.

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