As an office manager in the start-up world of San Francisco, I’ve learned that I can expect one thing to be guaranteed: The unexpected is guaranteed. In just the past few months, Chewse has seen our neighborhood gas station nearly light on fire, WiFi go down for unexpected periods of time, and the inevitable daily ebbs and flows of a young business. And while focusing on culture is top of mind, sometimes I need to give employees an extra smile or hug (metaphorically or literally) to raise their energy and boost morale. We’re a work family, and sometimes an extra special dose of love is in order.
When you find yourself faced with an unexpected morale dip, pull these out of your tool box for a last minute, super easy smile-maker.
1. Calling all Canines: One of the first things I learned when I arrived in San Francisco was that there are more dogs than children here. Use that to your advantage! Unexpectedly lost a client? Send a slack to your resident dog owners and see who can bring a pup in for the day. There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as a shiba inu named Foxy snuggling you while you update your GCal.
2. Think outside the office: Sometimes, a little sunshine is the best cure. If you have lunch catered, grab your catering trays, toss some plates and forks into a tote bag, and bring your team to the nearest green space for a picnic lunch. Plus, it’s a win-win: your team gets some fresh air, and you don’t have to deal with kitchen clean up.
3. Get Jiggy(saw) with it: Pull aside a table, throw down 1,000 pieces of puzzling magic, and let your team build it as they pass through. Taking 10 minutes between meetings to focus on finding two perfect ocean wave pieces can be just as calming as hanging by the ocean itself, and lamenting over the mysteriously missing edge piece can tightly bond the most unexpected teammates. Bonus: there’s arguably nothing as satisfying as finding that last piece!
4. Doughn’t doubt the power of cookies: The most universal cure for the blues is a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, and places like Pinkie’s Bakery or l’Acajou will have your team smiling faster than you can restart your laptop. After you order, make a quick run to the nearby market for your vegan and gluten-free cookies, and you’ve got a warm, gooey recipe for family-style love.
So don’t fret: the unexpected will happen. But you can always be ready to bring some love to your work family. And hopefully it involves dogs and cookies.