Last Updated: 24 May 2008
Office Toys & Fun Stuff for Startups
This is a quick list of ideas for 'toys' and other developer stress relief items that are cheap and fun.
- Get a game system. If you’re going to go this route, you need to get the latest and greatest (such as the Xbox 360 or the Nintendo Wii), and you need to get extra controllers. Almost all of these systems support up to four controllers; many can be networked so you can play eight or sixteen player games. It isn’t much fun to play by yourself, so if you’re going to spend bucks here, spend the bucks to get a decent setup.
- Get things to throw around and/or shoot (nerf, etc.). This is always popular, and rather cheap. Get nerf balls, nerf guns, and other things that can be thrown at people. Of course, they shouldn’t actually hurt, or have the potential to break things, but the dumb stuff can be good stress relievers. And you actually can buy these at Wal-Mart.
- If the office is somewhere near a field or other open space, get some outdoor gear, such as Frisbees, a soccer ball, or the like. You may want to put an ‘Outdoor Use Only’ sign on these…
- Buy exercise mats. You may even get healthier employees out of it.
- Buy those big exercise balls. They’re great for doing exercises, and they’re also great for sitting on if you need an extra chair for a meeting.
- Get bean bags. Big ones. Good to drag around the office for informal meetings and shooting the breeze.
- Of course, there is always the famous foosball table. A pool table is good too, although by the time you figure in the amount of space needed around it, it starts looking expensive. You’ve almost got to dedicate a room to it, and if you’re paying Manhattan real estate costs, that isn’t always easy to do. The local pub may be a better option.
- Get a bar. Bamboo Worldwide in Chicago did this, and they use it for both after work gatherings, letting loose, and parties. Apparently, one of the employees liked it so much that she got married at company HQ.
- At the very least, get a fridge and stock it with beer. And don't stress if somebody drinks in the middle of the day.
Also consider giving everyone a toy budget, and letting them buy and bring in their own toys. Or have a standing offer to reimburse people for toys.