One of Nelnet’s core values is to create an awesome work environment. Everyone can play a part in this by finding ways to help their team members enjoy coming into work every day. A recent survey showed that 86 percent of employees believe that company culture improves productivity.

In order to build a positive workplace culture, it’s important to have events or get-togethers where coworkers can have fun and further develop workplace friendships. Events like these can be expensive, which can be a challenge for companies and departments on a strict budget. With that in mind, here are a few cost-friendly options for building a company culture that lasts.

  1. Volunteer as a Team

Find opportunities to give back to the community your team lives and works in. By volunteering, you’re not just building a sense of camaraderie among your associates; you’re making a difference that will affect the lives of real people. Talk about making an impact.

Nelnet associates regularly volunteer as a team for events like water drives, and pen pal programs.

  1. Your Office’s Next Top Chef

Having an office cook-off is another way to bring people together and spark friendly competition without dipping into the piggy bank. The cook-off could be centered around anything from chili to clam chowder, as long as contestants make enough for everyone to try and vote on a winner. It’s a great way to bring the office together and provide the top chef with office bragging rights.

  1. Office Olympics

Rally the troops without burning a hole in the company’s pocket by hosting an “Office Olympics.” With a little bit of creativity, any object in the office can be used to create a game. One idea could be a contest to see who types the fastest in the office, or you could try Dizzy Sprints, where two people are spun around in chairs for a while and then race towards a finish line. In all cases, make sure that each contest takes place in a safe environment so that no associates (or office supplies) are harmed.

  1. Themed Clothing Days

Another simple way to improve morale around the office could be to have themed clothing days. Give people a chance to show off their style with work-appropriate clothing days. Think casual Friday, kicked up a notch.

Did you know? At Nelnet, the end of each work week is capped off with “Nelnet Friday.” Associates are encouraged to show off Nelnet-branded tees, jackets, and other clothing.

If you’re still stuck on ideas, look to the people around you. Put up an idea board so that associates can chime in with fun things to improve office culture that would resonate with them. From Lincoln-Haymarket’s 2018 ping pong tournament to an Agile Camp in Madison, some of the best Nelnet events have come from the minds of our associates.

You don’t have to spend lots of money in order to engage associates; all you need is a good group of people and some fun ideas. If you think of a creative office event, share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram and use #LifeAtNelnet.