If you are looking for ways to make employees more productive, one of the most effective methods is to infuse non-work-related activities into the work day. Give your employees a chance to work together or competitively in a game, and that drive and enthusiasm may well spill over into their work performance.
Freeze tag is a game in which employees are engaged in an every-man-for-himself battle. The object of the game is to “freeze” everyone else in the group using a predetermined method. You can freeze colleagues with a plastic spoon, "sticky" notes, a pencil or any other harmless item. The twist is that the person you freeze cannot be looking at you when it happens. Sneak up behind your fellow game players and tap them with the spoon or place the sticky note on them. Now they are frozen. The winner is the last person who has not been frozen. It is important to set clear ground rules in this game and to ensure that everybody knows who is participating. There may be certain times during the day that freezing is not allowed and you may restrict the freeze zone to the person's desk alone. Prizes could include first crack at new office equipment or supplies or simply a gift card to a local coffee shop or restaurant.
An office pool is a competition in which the participants bet that a certain event will happen. By law, office pool participants cannot wager money, but the winner can win a day off, a gift basket or anything else you decide to put up for the prize. The winner is the one who guesses correctly. Some examples of office pool possibilities are picking the date a co-worker will have a baby, an NCAA tournament bracket, or something as simple as when the next office supply shipment will come in.
Story building is a game in which all the members of an office are brought together and put into a standing circle. One member of the circle starts a story out loud with a sentence and the next member continues the story with a sentence of his own. The story continues with each member of the circle. This game can help a team get on the same page while having fun creating something together.
Have players stand in a circle or gather in the middle of a room. Select one player to come up with a new product. The product can be something imaginative or an existing product with a new feature. The other players must respond with positive affirmation about the product and offer ideas that can add to the product. The players must agree to every suggestion and build on it; the words “no” or “but” are prohibited. Set a time limit, then have the next employee invent his product.
Divide an office into two or more teams and have them search around for clues. Clues can be set up in different departments with different managers or employees. The team that follows the clues and is first to find the treasure at the end wins. One example is to have a clue in the coffee room or cafeteria that directs teams to the accounting department, like: "Now that you're through munching, visit those who do number crunching." A prize that could be given is an extra paid vacation day or first crack at the new computers when they come in.
This activity may be fun to organize on a day before a holiday or long weekend, when productivity often lags because employees are already daydreaming about their time off. Make sure that everybody in the office knows what is happening to avoid confusion.