5 Ways to Lighten Up the Day

Sponsored Content by Julia Hawkins

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Numerous studies show that work is, by far, the number one source of stress in peoples’ lives. As administrative professionals, we often take it upon ourselves to change that statistic. We are hired to make sure people are productive, and people cannot be productive if they are miserable and stressed. Not to mention, increased stress leads to higher risks of chronic pain, hypertension, heart attacks, and other ailments.

To use acclaimed author and organizer Marie Kondo’s words, part of an administrative professional’s responsibility is to “spark joy” in the office. There are numerous, diverse ways we can do this. As the sole administrative professional in my company and a first time admin, I was unaware just how many creative and thoughtful things we could do that would lighten the mood and remind everyone that work is not just about spreadsheets and sales targets; it’s also about understanding people and creating positive change!

Today, I am going to share five uplifting strategies. I learned these strategies on Cabinet, a social network for assistants I co-founded last year. Cabinet members represent every type of organization, from non-profits to Fortune 100 companies. I guarantee you can take a least one of these ideas and get started on it tomorrow.

  1. Work anniversaries

We each spend 90,000 hours, on average, at work. So why not celebrate that time spent with your organization? Celebrate you and your colleagues’ milestone work anniversaries by bringing in a sweet or healthy treat and giving them a nice card signed by other teammates. It’s sure to brighten their mood that people recognize their dedication and hardwork.

  1. Community engagement

Giving back and volunteering takes people’s minds off of work and contributes to the well-being of our communities. There are many volunteering opportunities in every community, such as reading to kids and packing lunches for homeless youth. There are also easy ways to organize charitable drives all year round for school backpacks, clothes, toys and presents around the holidays.

  1. Camaraderie quizzes

Start a tradition of light-hearted quizzes. My favorite is ‘Guess the Team Member’. Pick a different employee each week and share the anonymous employee’s baby photo or set of three personal facts. Then, invite employees to guess the team member. If you have a company bulletin board in the kitchen, these games will work very well on those. If not, you can still run them via a Monday email announcing the quiz and a Friday email giving the correct answer and congratulating the winners.

  1. Afternoon treat

By the time 4pm rolls around, we are all tired. Try this one day: email your team members at 3:30pm inviting them to come to the break room for a treat at 4pm. In the meantime, fill paper cups with popcorn and grapes. When they get to the breakroom, your colleagues will be delighted. If your team likes to drink together, you could push the time to 4:30 and also include beer, cider and wine. Wouldn’t that be a treat?

  1. Personal touches in meeting spaces

The last way you can lighten up the day is to add unexpected but thoughtful touches to meetings. If you’re like me and a little shy, this may be the best takeaway you get from this article. One way to do this is to put the Wi-Fi information in unique places like beautiful frames or printed coasters. Another option is to give your business card to guests when they arrive for a meeting and ask them to text you if they need anything. Finally, you can include useful things in the boardroom for people to take with them when they enter or leave. For example, some packs of to-go tissues or water bottles.

The key to all of these strategies is to believe in their ability to increase productivity by reducing stress. While they are light-hearted, that does not make them less important. You may even be able to tie these strategies to your bottom-line by using them to reduce employee turnover. If you’re curious to learn more about ways to implement these concepts or to learn other interesting strategies for productivity, head on over to Cabinet and join the nearly 1,000 administrative professionals sharing best-practices and ideas.  It would be wonderful to hear your suggestions!


Julia Hawkins is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cabinet. Prior to Cabinet, she was an executive assistant at a venture capital firm. She studied public policy at Duke University and received an MBA from Cornell University. Julia lives in New York City with her cat, Lego.

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