While everyone goes to work to earn an income, there are other rewards that employees receive. Some employers offer meals, day care services and fitness club memberships to build employee loyalty. Whether you are an employee wanting to form a group with co-workers who share your interests or an employer wishing to build employee morale and productivity, clubs in the workplace make good sense.
Clubs for All Interests
Clubs in the workplace can be found in companies of all sizes. Some firms only offer meeting space while others actively endorse and support employee activities. Boeing sponsors about one hundred clubs with interests as varied as making beer and wine to collecting rubber stamps and square dancing. Google-sponsored clubs include Frisbee and juggling. Some companies even offer employees a stipend to form clubs. While your firm may not be as large as Boeing or Google, you can benefit by having employees at your workplace pursue shared interests. Clubs may be formed spontaneously by employees or nurtured with management encouragement. Anything goes as long as club interests are legal, in good taste and not offensive to any group.
Forming a walking club is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to organize a social group at work. Benefits include exercise which can improve employee health and reduce their risk of heart attacks or strokes, building employee camaraderie and boosting morale. Employees can start a club like this informally and then determine if others are interested. Map out different routes to accommodate walks during beaks, lunch or after hours. If your work facilities have sufficient indoor space, you have a route for inclement weather. Once your groups are established you can experiment with stair-climbing, contests between departments and walking to raise money for charities.
A book club is an inexpensive way to engage employees in a shared learning activity. After you determine sufficient interest, make decisions such as how frequently the club will meet, who will handle communications and whether the leadership will be fixed or on a rotating basis. The leader is responsible for selecting discussion questions based on the readings. Members may select topics, but avoid controversial subjects like religion and politics. Ground rules include mutual respect and universal participation – no wall flowers. Club members may also select books related to the business to help improve job skills, industry knowledge and productivity.
Toastmasters, an organization that helps people develop their public speaking skills, is a way to promote employee self-esteem, build leadership skills, encourage camaraderie and help employees network with each other. If you wish to sponsor a Toastmaster Club, consult with another club to come to your business and hold a demo meeting. They can answer any questions your employees may have about the club. Companies may have to subsidize activities for this type of club for the one-time charter fee, membership dues and club materials. And, the company will need to provide a meeting room for this club. Some employers offer incentives for employees when they meet their Toastmaster goals.
Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.