“Hurray! Hurray! Finally, after a year of impatient waiting, it’s tax season!!!! I can’t believe it’s finally here! O joy of joys, O happy of happies! Could life possibly get any better?!?!”
That is the first time in human history that those words have been placed in that order. Nobody’s ever said what I just wrote. And you know why? Because taxes pay for useful yet boring things – roads, sewers, trash collection, tree maintenance, etc. – and it’s just hard to get excited about those things. If every taxpayer received a Nerf gun from the government, or if Congress decided to buy a giant pool of Jell-o that all of us could swim in, I think we’d be happier about the process of paying taxes. (Note: please ignore the hygiene issues associated with a giant pool of Jell-O that everyone is allowed to swim in. It would be awesome, and that’s all there is to say about it.)
Anyway, it’s occurred to me that there are several things you or your company could buy that would drastically improve the morale of everyone you work with. And before you go dismissing these ideas as impractical, please remember that everything you’re about to read would qualify as tax-deductible. Take that, government!
A Giant Slide!
I shouldn’t even have to describe the amazingness of this one, so I’ll limit myself to a dramatization: “Hey Carl, you want me to hold the elevator?” “No thanks, Alice, I think I’ll take the slide down.” (Carl then proceeds to hop on a giant blanket and shout, “Wheeeeeeee!” as he spirals 20 stories down to the atrium, where Alice is waiting for him because she took the more direct path. But her victory will never erase the quiet sadness she’ll feel at her choice of transportation.)
Pogo Sticks For Everyone!
Some companies have standing meetings to keep people focused. Others have walking programs to encourage wellness. So why not combine the two? Other than the occasional multi-pogostick pileup, I see literally no downside to this one.
After working up a mild sweat on the pogo stick, nothing would boost morale quite like returning to your desk to find your favorite pie waiting for you. Apple pie, cherry pie, pot pie, shepherd’s pie, Moon Pie – whatever your heart desires. This one also has the benefit of being something people might actually do, since it would only cost about $7 a person and would easily earn you more than $7 of their loyalty. Do this one!!!!
A Petting Zoo!
Animals cheer everyone up. Whenever I’m frustrated I just pet my puppy, and all is well. So why not bring that kind of instant, tangible happiness to everyone at work? But don’t limit yourself to cats and dogs. Emus, alligators, ostriches, harp seals, ducklings – so cute! – and anything else you can think of that isn’t illegal to obtain. Do you have any idea how much fun it would be next year for your accountant to be able to say, “Oh yeah, the ostrich was a business expense…yep…no I’m serious, I’m actually keynoting an accounting conference next month to talk about it…yeah, it was either me or some other guy lecturing about deferred depreciation, so it was basically a slam dunk.”
A Dedicated “Angry Room”
I’ve made this one up, so let me explain. First, soundproof an empty office, reinforce the walls, and black out the windows if there are any. Next, stock the room with as many things as you can think of that can be thrown, hit, or smashed – baseballs, drum kits, old typewriters, punching bags, and you get the idea. Finally, let people go in there whenever they need to blow off some steam and just go to town. They won’t disturb anyone else, and five minutes in the Angry Room will make 99% of your colleagues feel significantly better. The more I think about this, the more incredible the idea sounds. Plus it’s cleaner than a petting zoo, so it’s got that going for it.
The point is, the world is what we make it. If you have a roof over your head, food to eat every day, and pants, then you’re doing all right. That said, a giant slide would definitely make things a little better, so start lobbying for one. Have a wonderful April!