Shoeboxed Shenanigans: Smashing Pumpkins Edition

Shoeboxed Shenanigans gives you a glimpse into fun(ny) happenings here at Shoeboxed HQ. In this edition, you’ll find out what we did with our pumpkins after a fun Halloween celebration in the office.

Shoeboxed Shenanigans is a weekly feature that gives you a glimpse into our lives here at Shoeboxed HQ. Each installment will share a story about our office, the people in it,  or a something fun we did to take a break from keeping the world organized. Even organized superheroes like us deserve a break every once in a while, right? Anyway, we’re not the most serious group of individuals so read on and enjoy!

Smashing Pumpkins, Shoeboxed Style

Wednesdays are rough. You’re halfway through the week, but there’s still half of it left. No matter how much we love our jobs, who doesn’t love the weekend? In order to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel that is the weekend, we usually stick to this soon-to-be -classic commercial to get us up and over Hump Day. However, when you compound a Wednesday with the first cold front of the season, you can see why this particular morning was a toughie. So what did we do to get ourselves through the frigid mid-week blues? We ventured out into the cold and faced the impending winter head-on.

The leftover decorations from our Fall Fest were just dying to be used again, so the team filed out to the parking lot with a couple of pumpkins in tow. We asked ourselves one very simple question: what can you do with pumpkins aside from using them for decorative purposes? The answer was clear, eat them or smash them. We chose the latter. With that bold choice came the subsequent decision: how?

We decided to throw the pumpkins at the structure in the back of our parking lot. The rules were as follows: an individual must stand with their back towards the structure and fling the pumpkin as high as they could. Hopefully this would result in the pumpkin smashing and raining down upon us.

We had some close shots:

Shoeboxed Pumpkins 1

And some not so close shots:

Shoeboxed Pumpkins 2

Regardless, the end result was quite satisfying:

Shoeboxed Pumpkins 3

So there you have it! A Shoeboxed office adventure that got us through the work week and boosted team morale.  Looking back on it, the pumpkin smashing was a way for us to say goodbye to Halloween and the early fall holidays and mentally prepare ourselves for Thanksgiving and winter. Goodbye pumpkins and leaves, hello turkeys and snow! Each season and holiday brings new food and traditions to revel in, and pumpkin smashing is now one of those new traditions at the Shoeboxed HQ.

What do you do to spice up your life at the office? Any cool holiday traditions we should try? Let us know in the comments!

How to Make Your Office a Social Environment

If employees stay cooped up in cubicles all day, it’s likely that they aren’t getting much social interaction. Your employees are happier (and more productive) if they are in a laid back, social work environment. Here are some helpful tips to make your office a more social environment today!

Last week we discussed ways to improve your office morale, and this week we’re delving deeper into a key aspect of keeping your office an enjoyable place to work.  If employees stay cooped up in cubicles all day, chances are they aren’t getting much social interaction.  Your employees are happier (and more productive) if they work in a laid back, social work environment.  So how do you encourage a healthy amount of interaction among the employees in your office?  Check out our tips to see you to make your office a more social environment today!

1.  Create communal gathering spaces

Make sure your office has places where your employees can gather to hang out and take a little break from work.  Amenities like an in-office gym, basketball goals or ping pong tables allow people to take a step back from their work and interact with co-workers.  Your employees aren’t robots, and nobody expects them to work every minute of every day. Here at Shoeboxed, we love taking short breaks for a game of darts or ping pong. We even have a full musical setup in the office– complete with drums, keyboard, guitar and bass– for the unofficial Shoeboxed band to jam every once in awhile (see above)!

Alternative workspaces to desks are important, as well.  Have comfy couches or standing desks that let people escape from the monotony of their regular workspaces also promotes collaboration that doesn’t involve a computer screen.  A change of scenery increases productivity, especially if your office is a cubicle environment.

2.  Change the hierarchy of meetings

Conventional meetings between bosses, supervisors and employees aren’t the only meetings that should be taking place in the office.  Break up the hierarchy and focus on team-oriented meetings.  Creating teams within or between departments is conducive to collaboration and the spread of new ideas.  Not only are these groups working on shared goals and projects, but they are also forming bonds and boosting their communication skills.

You can also include your employees in the hiring process to promote engagement.  Company culture improves when people feel like they have a hand in hiring interns and co-workers.  Another way to increase the social environment is to educate employees about departments other than their own.  This will give people a more well-rounded view of the company and a better appreciation of what their co-workers do on a daily basis.

3.  Reward everyone

Don’t just recognize the all-stars of your team.  It’s important to reward good work, but only recognizing some people can foster negative feelings among co-workers.  You can recognize individuals for their star performances, but also take days to recognize certain departments or teams so everyone gets some recognition.  Acknowledgement is a great motivator and brings people together.

This tip also goes for recognizing the small wins, as well as the big wins.  You can celebrate smaller achievements that might fall below the radar in other companies.  If someone gets a promotion, recognize their hard work with a gift card or a treat on their desk.  When smaller goals are reached and rewarded, it inspires employees to put in their best effort.

4.  Encourage activities outside of the office

Have some fun outside of the office and arrange a company-wide  happy hour.  This is a great way to de-stress with co-workers and get some bonding time off the clock.  Happy hours definitely contribute to the office culture, making it a more social and relaxed environment.  Employees will be more comfortable working with each other when they’ve socialized outside of the office.

Group exercise is another great bonding opportunity.  Bring in a fitness instructor on a Friday or take a field trip outside to throw a football or frisbee at a local park.  Not only will this give employees a break, but getting those endorphins flowing makes everyone happier and more productive.

We also suggest an office dog!  Studies have shown that they reduce stress among employees and promote co-worker cooperation. Here at Shoeboxed, we have an office dog that joins us almost every day. We believe it’s a great unconventional perk— and an instant mood-booster.

What do you do in your office to create a more social environment?