Friday, August 28, 2009

Small things you can do while at work,to keep you alive/happy without compromising on work!

I have seen most of my friends suffering from the ‘I-have-so-much-of-work-while-he-is-happily-enjoying syndrome’. Well, I have been in projects where I had ‘ultimatum deadlines’ slogging all night till 1am or 2am and back in office by 7am. Yeah I surely did curse a lot of people then and even cribbed about the ‘bad management’ - Trust me I did. But somewhere, even during those times I did enjoy myself and never felt that someone else was happier than me – as I knew it would pass someday, and happiness is always relative. I would like to share few things that I did to ‘enjoy myself’ during work with stringent timelines and boring people around. I would also like to pen down things I "had always" wanted to do - Maybe I would ;) sooner or later

There may be several situations and the trick is to 'CHANGE' strategy according to the surrounding:

1) When you have well-known, like minded people around you in your office (on the same floor, same cubicle, same project)
-> Here you don’t have much of a problem remaining happy – until you get overloaded with work and can’t find time to walk out for a coffee or even take a break and get totally frustrated, and you know that the same scene is going to continue for few more days.That's when you need small 2 minute simplest of flicks - where you can laugh away your worries at an instant and work in a more relaxed manner. Posting just few of them to keep the post at readable length ;)
o play small pranks on known ppl. roaches/lizards could help. Or maybe dumping/loading their bags with shredded paper. putting those stickys on the seat. Or maybe hiding the mouse/water bottle/coffeee mug which they use most. Better still - geting some strong smelly/hunger provoking stuff 'hidden' in their table at maybe 12pm - potato puffs/cup-o-noodles/those tangy tomato flavored stuff - it sure irritates a lot of ppl around - u could have a good laugh.
o co-ordinating with few pals and standing and clapping each time something is dropped from the table – and you make sure to drop a steel spoon/plate/glass every once in half an hour at least – (hoping your friends would co-operate in clapping) - It really funny to see expressions to this one. May not work often - but good tp once in maybe 3-4 months.
o playing 1 min games like carrom (with coins), origamy, dustbin as basket and pen caps as darts - you can come up with any crazy stuff (without spending a penny)

2) When you are in an alien environment with everyone in their own world (most people from different age groups, not so fun-loving :you think, just doing their work and rushing back home)
-> These may be a little challenging and requires a lil bit of skill. You can start off conversation with the most basic topic of having a box of biscuits/chocolates/chaklis or whatever interests that cubicle/aisle - on your table. You can probably ask everyone to drop Rs 1 each time they want to pick up an item - That money would be recycled in buying more food stuffs - Trust me, food works in building rapport with most people. And not all people are boring as we think. I have seen (earlier restistive) 50 year old men later playing those 1 minute games to have a good laugh and rapport in the team. You need to remember that everyone 'wants' to be happy. They just dont know how. So why not take the initiative ;)
o Here you could talk to those around you to have 'color code' days, 'joke' days - where each person needs to come up with a PJ - and everyone tells out theirs once they finsh certain amount of work and take a break, or make paper topis for only your cubicle and aisle and wear them in office as if you were crowned for some big achievement - Other teams will surely be envious of you all - which will give you a bigger boost to do crazier stuff
o If you dont want to get into co-ordination and all that - maybe randomly start walking in your cubicle - when you are bugged (If people reciprocate, they will surely talk to you for a while), re-arrange stuff in your cubicle to make everything look different, make some hand-made (however bad it looks) calenders/pen stands/vase or anything that interests you on the desk
o Regularly have team get-togethers (maybe team coffee once every week) and also cubicle get togethers. It is important to build rapport with the popele you see day in and day out. If your team/cube is always happy and trying crazy stuff - People in other teams surely get influenced and the enthusiasm spreads

And remember, you are the best judge of the environment you are in, and you can use your own 'CREATIVITY' to make things around you appealing to you, and you can surely enjoy more and also 'focus' stronger while working. Work and Fun never seem to be two different things.


  1. good one..

    unfortunately, you have situations where you are not a team member but an individual contributor. everyone is looking up to you and you cannot afford to make ur image go lax by trying for some time-pass at office..

    moreover, you r in a professional concern and everyone are busy doing their own work. Even a small disturbance evokes stares and "warning letters" from the HR. Would it be worth taking this huge risk? I don't think so!!!!

  2. Good one :D I could see that coming from you. In my current company, I am an individual contributor too and do not have a huge team. But I do have people from other teams sitting around in our aisle - and the best part is I have 4 managers in my aisle apart from 2 juniors. It surely takes time I agree - I did not even talk much the inital 1 month. But slowly started implementing the biscuit strategy. Everyone was game for it. As people walked up at diff times during the day - to my desk, we would have a 30 sec chat perhaps.
    Slowly they started giving in - and the more I talked to everyone during breaks - the more I reaslised - people had given up on the 'fun' element just to preserve their so called professional getup. But at heart - everyone was a young child who likes to laugh and smile. Maybe I looked foolish to them initially- I dont know, that doesnt bother me - but these days everyone talks to me and also talk among themselves too once they are done witha certain portion of their daily tasks. Now the people around are so comfortable for me to work with. And as days go on, I am sure I will implement lot of crazyness out here too ;)

  3. seems like ur stint at infy has taught u how to make use of your office environment in a positive way...Have seen many of them getting bogged down unnecessarily citing bad team, over work and all..This will be a good read for them :)

  4. Definitely Praveen. Infy brought out the 'creative' me with all that pressure :)
    True. People always look at the flip side of things.