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Nine low-cost morale boosters (no kidding)

Worried about cheerfulness in your law department? Try one of these low-cost tactics guaranteed to boost morale or double your lost respect back, as described with a straight face in the Manager’s Intelligence Report (Sample issue in Oct. 2005, at 2) (See my post of Oct. 29, 2005 on morale as a symptom.)

Sponsor a “Noon Movie.” Once a week, set up a VCR in the lunchroom and show a funny movie – perhaps the courtroom scenes of A Few Good Men, North Country, or To Kill a Mockingbird?

Set up a Humor Corner. Pick a funny-bone spot, and encourage people to post cartoons, jokes and other hilarious material – perhaps the latest management initiative memo, or law firm marketing material?

Get out of the office: “Whenever possible, hold meetings outside the office—at the coffee shop down the street or at a local restaurant – perhaps close the deal at Starbucks with lawyers on TMobile?

Liven up your memos. “Buy a book of one-liners, and include a joke at the bottom of your memos.” A corporate lawyer walked into a bar and …

Run a “Guess the Baby contest. Ask the lawyers and staff to post baby photos of themselves in one place (the nursery wall?) and award a free lunch to the employee who can guess who’s who – perhaps then use the pictures on the law department’s intranet site?

Have “Lose an Hour” Days. Once a month allow the depressed members of the department to arrive an hour late on Monday morning or leave an hour early on Friday – and ignore those days’ time cards of the lawyers.

Take pictures! Ask aspiring paparazzi to take candid shots of employees, and add them to the Humor Corner. No legal risks here, no way.

“Bring your smile to work.” “You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes” – a brilliantly ambiguous endorsement.

Play with the dress code. Hold an “Ugly Tie,” “Ugly Pants,” or “Ugly Sweater” day. This is the clothing idea from Manager’s Intelligence, possibly an oxymoronic title.

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