Will a “Not-So-Casual Friday” Make Your Employees Happier?

The Ruby team on Jimmy Buffet Day“Making Friday Hawaiian shirt day doesn’t make it a culture of ownership.” — Tim Miles, The Daily Blur

A while ago, our friend Tim Miles wrote a fantastic post on The Daily Blur, advocating for a “culture of ownership” as the best way to help employees (and ultimately, the business itself) succeed. Transparency, listening, inspiration, and empowerment motivate more than any top-down, seemingly-random perk. I’ve certainly seen that concept at work at Ruby, and it called to mind one of our traditions.

At the end of each week, we pick a different theme for “Not-So-Casual Friday.” We’ve had a zombie day, a Star Wars day, a mustache day, a Mad Men day…even a Hawaiian shirt day (truth be told, it was more of a Jimmy Buffet day, complete with prop parrots and empty coconut glasses). They’ve become wildly popular, have huge participation, and our clients tell us they can’t wait to find out on Facebook what quirky theme we’ll have next.

It made me wonder, What makes Ruby’s Not-So-Casual Fridays different than Hawaiian shirt day at Initech?

Well, the idea did not come from our CEO. It didn’t even come from our Culture Champion. It came from our virtual receptionists themselves.

When we first moved into our new space, our upfront receptionists Sara Lee and Mercedes greeted visitors in casual business attire. It wasn’t long before Mercedes suggested having a dress up day, rather than the ubiquitous casual Friday. Jill, our CEO, agreed under one condition: We go all out. Challenge accepted, and thus, our epic Not-So-Casual Fridays were born!

Now the whole office is encouraged to suggest themes, and we love taking a moment to appreciate one another’s creativity. We were empowered to create our own, more meaningful traditions, and the fun definitely shows in our work; our smiles can be heard on every call!

What traditions have you started at your workplace? We’d love to hear about how your team creates community!

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