Magic isn’t a tangible thing; it’s a feeling. And workplace magic is no different. It’s a way to create a sense of belonging, innovation, and excitement among your employees. Ritual is the gateway to magic, and developing workday rituals that give everyone a sense of purpose, positivity, and wonder will help guide your business in the right direction. Simply by being intentional, your workplace leaders can turn everyday routines into rituals for magic.
The Social Connection of Rituals
We see it all over the world in every culture. Whether it’s a religious celebration or a cultural one, communities e gage in rituals to feel connected. A natural part of your company is the community you’ve built among employees and management. Every team member is an important and appreciated part of your business, so using rituals to help everyone stay connected, feel appreciated, and increase motivation is a logical step in the process. Let’s look at an example: a wedding.
For a wedding, the couple may celebrate their day with an elaborate party. The ceremony is a ritual, but so is the reception. And other wedding rituals have become expected in our cultural language. Guests will bring a gift for the couple to start their new life together, write a note in a guest book, or record a video message for the couple. The bride and groom engage in social rituals such as special dances.
All of these are structured to celebrate the couple themselves and the community that supports them. The concept of ritual can translate to the workplace in both big and small ways. Let’s look at a few ideas.
Whether they’re solitary or group-oriented, morning rituals do more than help employees start on the right foot. These first rituals of the day are also the way habits are formed, so positive action is encouraged. It’s essential to look at triggers and cues and how they impact the next steps. For example, your morning ritual may look like this:
- Enter the building
- Get coffee
- Sit at desk
- Check emails
This is a ritual.
Some companies encourage employees to be social in the first few minutes, giving them a chance to catch up before starting the workday. Others like to have a quiet moment to help them reflect on the tasks for the day and get in the right mindset.
End of Day Rituals
The end of the day is a great time to focus on another set of rituals. After whatever has happened during the day, it’s nice to take a few minutes before leaving the office to get things organized, so you’re ready for the next day. For example, sitting down at the end of the day will give you a chance to rewrite your to-do list with the most critical tasks for the following day. You can also organize your desk to make sure that everything is where it belongs. Doing an end-of-day ritual at work will help you clear your mind to transition to your home or social life so you don’t have anything hanging over your head that you may have forgotten.
Some rituals in the office should encompass the entire workplace or department. Many companies came to rely on regular check-ins when work shifted from the office to remote during the pandemic. Even now, as employees may be returning to the office, checking in every day or every week depending on your corporate culture can help give everyone a touchstone.
Collaborative tools, such as Asana, can help incorporate these rituals into your day. They call it “cadence,” which refers to the rhythm of the workday. Creating a check-in ritual gives your team a chance to be heard and avoid interruptions to the workflow.
Author Margaret Atwood once said, “You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it.” Storytelling is the way humans communicate. At all levels, whether you consider yourself a great communicator or not, when you connect with someone else, you default to storytelling.
Imagine when you get home from work. You ask your family what they did that day. Whatever they say next is a story. Some may be more exciting than others, but people like to share in narrative form. The same is true for your employees.
In this case, the story starts with your corporate culture. And corporate culture begins with leadership. Storytelling and rituals go hand in hand when developing the narrative of your business.
There is another ritual humans use to connect, and this one may be even more apparent. Going back to the example of the wedding, a reception isn’t just gifts, drinks and dancing. The couple includes a meal experience shared by their guests. That’s because we connect over food and have for the entirety of human history.
While meals in the office are generally a solo or small group activity, adding regular ritual meals allows everyone
to come together away from their desks.
Many companies will establish specific meal events, such as holiday parties or summer cookouts. Sometimes there’s the surprise of a pizza day or an ice cream social. More important than the mechanics of sharing a meal, humans receive psychological benefits when eating together. It continues to forge the bond between coworkers and management, which will easily carry over into day-to-day work.
Rituals, big and small, can encourage companies to make workplace magic to engage and excite current and future employees.