You don't need a two-story slide or roof deck to make your office a cool place that employees look forward to coming to. You can work with what you have; my marketing software company, VerticalResponse, certainly does. When you really think about it, it's not that hard to transform your office environment into something fun that your employees will enjoy and even participate in.
1. Open Space
When we moved into our new space about a year ago, we had the luxury of not cubing out a nice-sized area on our floor. As we grow we're going to have to construct more cubicles, but for now we thought it was important to have a common area that can also be used for our all-hands meetings. We went straight to Ikea and got a bunch of cool-looking table and chair sets so that people can eat their lunches there, or have meetings. We also got a bunch of easy-to-move comfy chairs and bean bags so that people can work in a more relaxed environment. It gives people the chance to get out of the cube and work in a different environment.
We have a bunch of people on our teams who don't want to be in their own cubicle, but want to work in a more collaborative environment. I was all for it. We took down some panels between their desks so they can be together and work together.
We got a shuffleboard and a full-sized table tennis set so that when our people want to blow off a little steam or take their minds off work for a few seconds, they can. Bonus: If we need to move the table tennis table, it's easy and the shuffleboard table doesn't take up much room. We also have a Nintendo Wii, but oddly enough people would rather play table tennis!
4. Access to Sports
We try to stream any important sporting event that might be happening. So if World Cup soccer, tennis or the Olympics are on, you can find it playing on a pretty large projected screen in the common area. People like to congregate for a few minutes of commentary.
When we have a big launch or an event, we try to decorate around the office. For instance, just recently we had an event and lunch based on a nautical theme so our office manager went nuts and decorated everywhere with nautical theme decorations and toys. Around the holidays, we have departmental contests where each team tries to out-decorate their spaces to win a cool prize! We've had a cube turned into a gingerbread house, a "working" fireplace complete with a mantel and stockings, and a winter white theme.
Most of these things are completely do-able even if your work environment is filled with cubicles. What are you doing to make your place a fun place to work? Love to hear it!