Blogging causes us stress

We’re taking a permanent Recess from Blogging.

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Recess At Work Day 2012

Fun on the New Haven CT Green on June 21, 2012

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Back to work? Recess At Work Day is over? Waaaah!

Well yesterday was Recess At Work Day. The excitement and enthusiasm over on Twitter was loads of fun to watch; it was even more fun interacting with people during the day.

But now what? Back to work? Back to the same old?

If you took some time to laugh and play with your colleagues good for you? Hopefully you saw the benefits. But Recess At Work Day is about so much more than play; it’s about creating a work culture that encourages a fun environment on an ongoing basis; a fun environment that leads to creativity, innovation, higher morale, increased engagement and improved employee wellness.

So don’t let it stop.

Now that doesn’t mean it has to be a day of playground antics all the time. Learning can be fun. Recognition can be fun. Creativity sessions can be tons of fun. My challenge to you while you’re still in the Recess At Work spirit is to check off the 3rd Thursday of every month and use it as an opportunity to continue making your organization even greater. Check out the RECESS AT WORK SYSTEM which includes 12 fun Recesses with the sole purpose of keeping people productive, happy and growing your business. Activities that can be done in 30, 60, or 90 minutes. Activities that don’t require a whole lot of planning (well most); but deliver a lot of punch. (and don’t forget to serve some punch. Food is always good when it comes to learning.)

Keep the spirit alive and I believe on RECESS AT WORK DAY 2012 (June 21st) you’ll have a lot to celebrate!

Rich DiGirolamo
Founder, Recess At Work Day

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Tomorrow is Recess At Work!

Tomorrow is Recess At Work Day!

Are you participating?

Will it be a day with some added fun? Some fun learning? A opportunity to recharge? To celebrate?

It’s not too late to put together a fun recognition event……Read all about it here and get your FREE easy instructions

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What are the rules for Recess At Work?

There are none! It’s that simple.

Recess is defined as a break from the norm; the temporary cessation of the customary activities of an engagement occupation or pursuit. It says nothing about running amok. It also says nothing about stopping people from running amok.

Recess At Work Day is an opportunity; an opportunity to create team spirit; to build a better organization; to celebrate; to train; to laugh; to run around like kids; to communicate; to improve employee morale and engagement; to recharge and so much more. It should be part of your health and wellness initiatives. It should be part of your engagement initiatives. It should be part of your customer focus.

What you do on June 16th is totally up to you………….provided it is not the norm. It can be for 30 minutes or for 3 hours; there are no rules. I have offered some ideas on the home page. Or you can see and read what others have done by spending time perusing this site. One of the reasons I created the Recess At Work System as well as the RECESSitation Pack was for organizations to challenge themselves to put employee development at the top of the priority list. In the grand scheme of things these are low cost training opportunities that have purpose, are fun and can bring employees together to build a better organization. Imagine a regular Recess that drives productivity, teamwork, and profits! How’s that for ROI?

People spend the majority of their time at their places of work; I just think you can make it better while they are there. It is my hope that Recess At Work Day does that for you this year. Let June 16th be the beginning of a commitment.

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Free Beanie Cap Contest: Seriously, who most needs a Recess in your office?

With Recess At Work Day just one month away, we’re having a contest!

And we’re giving away a free Recess At Work Beanie!

So here’s how the contest works……….

Every office has one; that one person who seriously needs to lighten up; the one who walks around uptight all the time; hardly smiles; takes things way too serious; looking as if he or she is about to come unglued when the slightest setback occurs. Well here’s your chance to show that person that you care, want them to take better care of themselves and to put a smile on their face. Or be the catalyst that unglues them.

What you need to do:

  1. Secretly (or not) nominate that person in your office who needs a Recess.
  2. Tell us in 150 – 250 words why this person needs the Is It Recess Yet beanie. Yep, we want the dirt. Or the sob story. Or maybe you have a genuine workaholic and you’re concerned they may just drop dead at 4:59PM causing you to have to stay late and wait for paramedics.
  3. email your entry to Rich DiGirolamo, THE RECESSITATOR by 5:00PM EST Wednesday May 25th.
  4. If your entry is chosen by our RECESSitation Panel (a group of people who want to go have a cocktail with Rich and laugh) we’ll send the hat off to the winner hoping to brighten their day. The winner will be notified on June 1, 2011.
  5. Please be certain your name and contact information accompanies your entry and we will be verifying if this is a real employee. Don’t be a cheater or cheapskate just to get the hat. Buy one if that is the case.



Someone in your office might be the proud winner of this!


Well that’s it! Get nominating, writing and submitting.

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I suggest a Recess to generate new ideas. He suggests an Excursion.

Today’s blog post is from my friend Russ Schoen – a master in creativity. I met Russ at a conference last year and love his thinking. Thought I would have him share some with you today.


Why an excursion will help your team generate 50% more ideas?

(and have more fun doing it!)

Take a few seconds to answer this question. Where do you get your most creative ideas? Is it:

  • In the shower?
  • While in the car?
  • While exercising?
  • At the beach?
  • In bed?
  • At a café?
  • Somewhere else?

When we ask participants in our creative thinking training sessions this question, we often get the responses listed above and rarely get this response, “At my desk at work.”

Now, why is that? Because creative thinking thrives when you are in a relaxed state and your senses are exposed to different stimuli. And one of the best creative techniques that you can use when you want to deliberately help your teams generate creative ideas is to use a “recess” and take your team on a Field Trip excursion.

What is a Field Trip Excursion?
A field trip excursion is a creativity technique that helps you and your team generate new ideas by exposing them to different stimuli. To do a field trip, you literally take your team out of the normal work environment and take an actual trip someplace. Perhaps, you might go to a botanical garden, a shopping center, a bakery, bowling or even the zoo. While on your trip, you stay open to everything you see, hear, smell and touch and you capture any ideas that relate to your own challenge. And here is the thing. It doesn’t matter where you go as long as it is some place where your team doesn’t normally go!

So for example, let’s imagine you run a restaurant and are looking for creative ways to improve service. You might take your team on an excursion and go to the zoo. While there, you notice how friendly the person who sold you the ticket was. They asked you how you were and referred to you by name. You suddenly realize you need to hire a professional host for your restaurant. Later on, as you walk by the gorillas, you get a sense that they didn’t have enough space in their area. As you reflect, you realize that your restaurants tables are too close to each other and you need a few smaller tables.

Field Trip Excursions are hugely fun to do and very productive. You can do a field trip excursion for 45 minutes, 2 hours or even a whole day. It’s up to you! And here’s another thing. Research has shown that field trips help teams increase idea production by more than 50%!

So to review, here are the steps to do a field trip excursion:

  • Think of the challenge you want your team to get creative ideas on
  • Pick a fun place that you normally don’t go to
  • Take a “recess” and visit that place in person and notice everything that catches your attention
  • Think about your challenge and generate some ideas
  • Capture the ideas

The one watchout for when you go on an excursion
How many times have you had a great idea only to forget it? It happens all the time and here’s what the research in creative thinking shows. If you have a great idea and forget to write it down, you most likely will forget the idea. And many people do this on their first excursion. They go on a field trip, have a bunch of ideas and don’t have a system to capture their ideas.

To overcome this, decide ahead of time, how you will capture your ideas. Use a journal, a pad of paper or even smart phone to capture your ideas digitally.

Do this and you and your team will get the most out of your excursions. And now, its time to get you going on your first excursion.

Ready, Set, Go
That is it. You now have a powerful way to help your team leverage their next recess and generate creative ideas on demand. So get going and put this technique to the test. And then if someone asks you, “where do you get your most creative ideas?” you can say, wherever your latest excursion took you!

Thanks Russ for the great idea! I tell my clients all the time to move meetings to a new location; so I love the excursion concept for the purpose of idea generation!

For 12 more ideas to improve creativity, morale, engagement and productivity don’t forget to learn more about the Recess At Work System by clicking here.

Here’s how to connect with Russ:



Skype: RussSchoen

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RECESS AT WORK is a philosophy

What’s the best way to improve morale, engagement and productivity in your workplace?

Here’s one way:

And here’s another:

Incorporate a RECESS AT WORK Philosophy into your long-term employee related initiatives.


The chart below shows the impact of putting a long term/consistent strategy of Recess At Work – TO WORK!

  • It’s a commitment
  • It’s an understanding that organizations have limited potential when the people who keep those organizations moving don’t have opportunities to learn, recharge and celebrate
  • It’s recognizing that one time employee related events are only band-aids; but consistent commitments over time lead to improved morale, engagement and productivity.

And the RECESS AT WORK System is one way of assuring that happens. The system offers 12 opportunities to increase morale, engagement, and productivity that don’t take a lot of time, planning, thinking or money. And whether you take a monthly or quarterly approach these 12 opportunities will keep people smiling, laughing, creating, innovating and working better together so that when the CEO does go on vacation she or he will be missed.

Order yours today and take advantage of 20% savings before the May 13th price increase!

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So what’s in the RECESS AT WORK SYSTEM?

Yesterday I excitedly shared with you about the launch of the RECESS AT WORK IMPLEMENTATION SYSTEM. Today I give you some insight into what’s included.

As I mentioned the system includes12 Opportunities for you to RECESSitate your organization before you need to Resuscitate it. And here’s a glimpse into the twelve. Now it’s just a glimpse; I want there to be some excitement when your system arrives.


R – Recognition; hold a fun recognition event with easy planning

E – Engagement; a quick activity to find out what gets employees engaged

C – Creativity; the creative ones are not always the creative ones

E – Education; everyone can teach us something and make our jobs easier and better

S – Success; organizational successes are always happening. Let’s feel the pride

S – Superheroes; do you know where they lurk in your company?


A – Attitude; it really is everything

T – Teamwork; the people you hate most are probably your best teammates


W – What The…….; some people need to just shut up and listen. This one will make sure.

O – OMG! OMG, that is funny and we all just don’t understand the power of laughter

R – Rewriting your company; a fun exercise to eliminate Corporate Speak

K – Kid Time!; just what it says; time to be and act like one.


Each exercise has a purpose – to make your organization a place where people are engaged, excited and productive.

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June 16th is Recess At Work Day!


Do you have your



Since its inception in 2004 the 3rd Thursday in June has been designated as Recess At Work Day. Acknowledged by Chase’s Calendar of Events (the Official Bible of Unofficial Holidays) and worldwide media, Recess at Work Day has evolved over the years. It has evolved because of people like you; people who have embraced the holiday and used it to make your organization a better place for employees, volunteers and members.

What started out as a day of fun in 2004; a day of schoolyard games; has morphed into a day to recharge teams, celebrate success, and offer a chance for some learning. It has evolved into what I call an opportunity to RECESSitate any group, team, customers or business.

Look Who Has Participated:

Over the years I have hula hooped at Harford Hospital, celebrated the successes of school cafeteria workers, and enjoyed breakfast while delivering a fun professional development program for McDonalds Corporation. As you can see Recess At Work Day is good for any industry who understands the importance of morale, engagement, and productivity; any organization that values its number one asset – its people. 1-800-MATTRESS seized the marketing opportunity and invited their customers to come take a Recess and try out a new mattress.

The definition of RECESSitate is to undergo a period of learning, recharging or celebrating; versus the definition of Resuscitate which is to bring back from the dead. That’s what Recess At Work Day is all about; that’s what this system is all about. It’s about RECESSitating your organization before the need for resuscitating. The benefits of RECESSitating or a RECESSitation as I like to call it, include, but are not limited to:

  • Improved employee morale
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Higher productivity
  • Stronger work teams
  • Better Communication
  • Stronger Leadership/Grooming Leadership
  • A more fun workplace


And given the last few years, don’t you think your organization deserves some time to have a little fun with a purpose? To have their hard work and loyalty recognized.

The CEO will kill me if we’re outside playing:

In response to people looking for Recess At Work Day ideas that have organization value (words the CEO likes to hear) while also being fun I have developed the RECESS AT WORK IMPLEMENTATION SYSTEM. Included are 12 opportunities for you to do just that; 12 Recesses, RECESSitations, employee morale boosters, employee engagement strategies, creativity & innovation ideas, or whatever you choose to call them. No, you don’t have to do all 12 at once. Let Recess At Work Day be the beginning of something bigger; perhaps a year-long approach to RECESSitating your company; to making it an even better place for employees as well as customers.

There are so many ways to use this system:

  • Use it one activity at a time; perhaps to tackle an organization challenge
  • Give different departments an activity that might help them move forward, break through a barrier or bond
  • Let one department choose the activity for another department
  • Challenge a neighboring company in your vicinity to a little competition/collaboration
  • Commit to a monthly or quarterly Recess to recharge, celebrate or learn something
  • Use the shorter activities as a meeting ice breaker


Are you getting the idea?

Committing to periodically (perhaps monthly) incorporating a RECESSitation when it looks like your company is heading towards needing a Resuscitation might be just what the morale and turnover statistics need.

June 16th will be here before you know it. Don’t be one of those companies who send me an email that day saying I wish I had known or I wish I had some ideas. I’ve done that for you and am offering you a savings if you pre-order now!


RECESSitate today and you might not have to Resuscitate tomorrow.

It’s time to Learn, Recharge and/or Celebrate.

But most importantly, it’s time to have some fun instead of talking about it!

Happy Recess. And please do not hesitate to contact me with comments, thoughts, ideas, successes, or just to say hi!


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