Down Economy Doesn’t Have to Equal Down Spirits

Let’s take a step back for a minute and be honest: recessions suck.

Deeply profound, I know.

But seriously, working in the “built environment’ (real estate, design, construction), I can honestly say that this ain’t my first time around the block when it comes to a slow down. I’ve only been in the industry for a decade and have already weathered the 2001-2002 doldrums, when I watched our office (along with many others) shrink. Thank heavens for the rebound!

Here’s the biggest thing I learned: it sucks nearly as much to be a person who keeps a job as it does to be a person who is laid off. Every round of cuts means friends and colleagues leave, empty desks increase and spirits plummet in house.

I’m thankful every day that layoffs haven’t touched us yet. As a marketer, I take slow times very personally – almost as a personal failure to bring in food for the family.

I thought long over the holidays about what we could do as a firm to battle the recession mentality. We’re all watching the bottom line, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to find ways to enjoy our work and continue building our firm culture.

With that, I appointed myself: Captain of Fun and Party Planner Extraordinaire (the latter is already a well-known fact around my firm’s drafting tables)!

The challenge I gave myself was to think beyond the firm’s traditional “Summer Family Event” and “Holiday Party.” Specifically, I wanted a plan that:

  1. Spread fun activities throughout the year
  2. Provided industry-related activities
  3. Gave learning opportunities
  4. Promoted healthy living
  5. Involved employee’s families where appropriate
  6. Made charitable activities a year-round focus
  7. Offered low-to-no cost events

And I think I came up with a pretty good Calendar Of Fun! I know some folks from my office read this blog, so I won’t do a tell-all here, but some things our staff will be looking forward to this year include:January
Lunch for a Bunch potluck lunch and food drive to benefit the North Texas Food Bank

Valentine’s Day decorate-a-bag and Valentine swap

Too-much-fun-to-tell-you special holiday celebrations

(Architecture Month)
Dallas Blooms (and our firm’s competition-winning playhouse on display) at the Arboretum
Egg decorating contest

Dallas Arts District walking tour
National Pet Month celebration

Picnic and Movie at Addison Circle
Captain Hope’s Kids School Supplies and Backpack Drive

National Ice Cream Month celebration

Our very own Amazing Race competition

Wilson Block walking tour (Preservation Dallas)
Addison Oktoberfest 5k and 1 mile walk/run for Children’s Hospital

Komen Race for the Cure 5k and 1 mile walk/run
Halloween dress-up day

Annual Thanksgiving Potluck

Holiday party
Holiday Toy Drive
Yankee Swap (aka White Elephant) and Tacky Sweater Day

And for the members of my staff who love to hang out after work, I’ve codified our company’s non-company sponsored happy hour into: Second Friday (held the second Friday of each month, duh!).

Sounds like fun, huh?

3 Comment

  1. Sounds like great fun. I may borrow a couple of your ideas for our staff!

  2. I’ll email you my Calendar of Fun so you can see the details that aren’t posted here…

  3. […] beef, curry to chocolate cake, we have it all in a typical potluck (even at Thanksgiving). The Captain of Fun and Party Planner Extraordinaire just had to start the new year off with a potluck. As usual, we had a great batch of food and very […]

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