Hello, and welcome to the Olympics! As many of you already know, I have decided not to participate this year. It was a difficult decision, but in the end my complete lack of talent won the day. Just once in my life I’d like to pit myself against any Olympic athlete in any sport – badminton, curling, powerlifting, I don’t care – just to see how much worse I am than they are. I’ve seen football players who can run faster backwards than normal people can forwards, so I think the footage of me against Pick-an-Olympian would be hilarious and sad. But mostly hilarious.
Anyway, it occurs to me that very few of us ever get to experience the glory and grandeur of participating in anything like the Olympics. Yes, I understand those athletes have dedicated their lives to their particular sport in order to be as good as they are. But I’ve dedicated my life to speaking at conferences and writing semi-amusing newsletters, and there’s no global stage for me. And you’ve dedicated your life to your job and family, and there’s nothing for you either. That’s a tragedy.
So today I would like to propose that you inaugurate your very own Office Olympics. The games you select will depend on the nature of your work, the layout of your office building, and other factors. But nothing can facilitate teambuilding, camaraderie, and overall euphoria quite like inventing stupid games and then challenging your colleagues to compete against you. This is one of the most fundamental pleasures of human existence, and I submit ‘beer pong’ and ‘caber tossing’ as evidence.
Anyway, to help get you started, here are a few games I think deserve to be a part of the official Office Olympics:
The Swivel Chair Luge
An obvious choice for any office with hallways and wheeled chairs. These could be broken into several categories (individual forwards, individual backwards, two-person and even four-person events if you want to see some spectacular NASCAR-esque crashes), and you can easily use trash cans and other furniture for obstacles.
You’ll probably only do this one once, so make sure to film it. I sense a viral video coming on…
Harder than it sounds. Feel free to pick whichever common activities you and your colleagues routinely do (email, phone calls, copying, etc.), then see who can do the most of them at the same time. Make sure everyone stays hydrated!
Lunch Retrieval Relays
You’ll need four people for this – order taker, caller, driver, and runner. The order taker and/or caller should also position themselves in the elevator to make sure it’s there when the runner grabs the food from the driver. You’d hate to lose because of an uncooperative elevator.
Watching two people attempt to present the same material with the same gestures promises to be way more hilarious than that last teambuilding trip to the karaoke bar.
This can take one of two forms. You can either see who can make the most calls in a given period of time. Or (more amusing, I think), you can see who can grunt and shout the loudest into the phone as if they were lifting an enormous amount of weight. I recommend not actually calling your customers if you do this one. Unless you work in a dumbbell factory.
That’s just a start, but there are countless ways you can spice up the month by taking some inspiration from the Olympics. If nothing else, a plastic basketball hoop over the breakroom trash can should get a couple pick-up games started. Have fun!