The art of keeping business morale high. Recess? Team drumming? Bocce anyone?

Who didn’t look forward to recess in school? Well at least a few companies are running a recess for employees in an attempt to boost morale and in general brighten up sour dispositions.  A story in the Philadelphia Inquirer today looks at one company that offers a 15 minute recess once a week where team-building exercizes and other activities are offered to help relax workers.  For example, workers at Masel in Bristol, PA., engaged in outside water-balloon tosses and basketball, there are also indoor remote-control-car races, electric-slide dances in the lunchroom, and games of Simon Says.     The recess program was started two years after the company went through a buyout and some managerial changes, the article says.   "Many companies were trying to force this type of thing unnaturally, and people have had so many bad experiences that it got to be sitcom material," said Gayle Porter, an associate professor of management at Rutgers University in Camden referring to the NBC TV series The Office Porter said that, for team-building exercises to work, "a company has to have a reasonably good situation to work with. "If morale is bad, it's because people have some issues, and playing games isn't going to solve those issues," she said. "There's a fine line between what's cute and light-hearted and what might offend some people as being childish or treating them like children instead of adults.” There are other groups too that are promoting adult recess.  For example, Angie Barnum and Marcia Hines think recess for grownups is a perfect antidote to corporate stress. They have created the Burned Out Business Women’s Association or BOBWA to help people come up with new ways to beat corporate stress. Despite the Business Women’s part of the name, BOBWA is open to stay-at-home moms. Men can join, too, but no more than 5 % of the membership.  Meanwhile a staffing service company The Creative Group recently asked 250 U.S. advertising and marketing executives for challenging or inventive methods of building camaraderie  at work besides recess and came up with some wacky suggestions.  ·          Team skydiving.·          A group Segway tour.·          Line dancing on the beach in matching outfits.·          Navigate a maze through a cornfield.·          Team surfing contest ·          Team drumming, ala the Blue Man Group·          Hold a dog show·          Take an improvisational comedy class together·          Hold a cubicle-decorating contest – with the grand prize:  a cruise  ·          Hold a sand sculpture contest at the beach·          Designed your own miniature golf course and play a tournament·          Rock climbing ·          White water rafting·          Bungee jumping·          Form a Bocce league (Network World has a bocce league) I am pretty sure most companies would find some of these team building exercizes a little beyond the call of duty but it would be fun suggesting them and seeing the look on you manager’s face.

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