I really didn’t expect much participation. I knew there were people who were too busy for such silliness. In fact, I really worried that there might be complaints about the disruption to the workday.
According to the holiday festivities schedule, today’s event was BINGO! Two games. Two winners, each one going home with a holiday ham.
So how do you play BINGO in an office, when there is work to be done? I’ll tell you how. EMAIL!
Every employee received a BINGO card. We were playing cover-all, which meant you had to mark off every number on your card in order to win. We played one game before lunch, and one after. Five numbers were drawn at a time, then sent out in an all-company email in fifteen minute intervals. Seriously, it took like three hours to get through one game!
Denise was the BINGO caller for the first round. I took the after-lunch session. I had no idea how much fun being the BINGO caller would be but I would soon find out!
After sending out the first couple of sets of numbers, I decided to spice things up a bit. I added a photo I’d found online to the email with the third set of numbers.
I began to hear from people who I was surprised to realize were actually playing along. I mean, our hope was to have a lot of participation and that many of the employees would have fun. But the people with important titles? People in management positions? The people with big projects and deadlines? I did not expect them to pay any attention to our holiday fun and games. So imagine my surprise when I realized these very people were in fact playing along! Imagine my surprise when it became clear they had not only the holiday spirit, but the spirit of competition.
About two hours into the second game, an email notification popped up on my desktop. I opened it.
Has anyone told you you’re a lousy BINGO caller? I still have fourteen open spots!
This came from Jeff, one of the IT guys.
That may be true, I replied, but I call ‘em with style.
That you do, he said, but I don’t like your style.
Jeff’s message was followed by smiley faces, so I took no offense to his complaints. However, when I sent out the next round of numbers, I included this:
… Jeff tells me that I am …
… and I have to say that I agree with him!
Soon the bribes were coming in.
I need four more numbers! Come on, Terri!
Come on B4!
More Bs and Is, Please!
There is a nice slice of ham in it for you if you call my last two numbers!
Those employees sitting in close proximity began to call out to me from their desks. Isn’t it time for the next set of numbers yet? Late in the game, my boss left his office for a meeting. I heard him instructing Joe to take care of his BINGO card for him while he was away so he was sure not to miss anything. If he had a chance to win, he did not want to lose just because he had business to conduct!
Almost all of the numbers had been drawn and we were getting down to the wire. The Queen of England made an appearance. She wanted a turn as BINGO caller.
And a very Lucy-looking dog joined in the fun …
Finally, FINALLY … BINGO was called, not once, not twice, but three times! I announced that three claims had been made for the win and advised the three winners that I would check their playing cards and in the meantime, they should practice their leg-sweeps in case a tie-breaker was required.
A tie-breaker was required. In the end, I decided a name drawing was probably a more appropriate way to decide the winner. I announced that Frances was the lucky winner of a beautiful ham and thanked everyone for playing. In return, I received several emails thanking me and the fun sisters for making the game so fun and easy for everyone to participate.
I was seriously surprised that such a simple little game had created such fun for even the busiest of our coworkers. We are very busy right now and we all have important work and deadlines, but most everyone made time to squeeze in some fun with their coworkers. I couldn’t seem to stop smiling. When the girls and I concocted our plan for a series of holiday events for our coworkers, I had no idea that people would actually enjoy them this much.
My friend and former coworker, Erin used to be the company fun guru. It always seemed that the rest of the company was all too willing to let her take charge of such things. I always wondered why she allowed it to be this way, never stepping back and forcing someone else to do the work for a change. Now I know why. Being the fun guru is wonderfully rewarding!