By Taylor Trapani, Marketing Associate

Two weeks on the job as Pyramid Solutions’ new Marketing Associate, a woman on the Banking & Financial Services Team not much older than me approached me with a pink Nerf gun in hand. She handed it to me and left me with words that haunted me for several days: You’re going to need this.

I was bewildered.

I need this Nerf gun? Why me? What will I have to defend myself against? Do other people have Nerf guns? Why do people here have Nerf guns? When will I need this? Do I even know how to shoot a Nerf gun?!

A few days later my questions were answered.

It was mid-afternoon. Gray outside. The post-lunch sleepiness had settled in. An eerie silence fell across the office. Engrossed in my work like I always am, I jumped in my chair when a blue foam dart whizzed past inches from my ear, hit my monitor and innocently fluttered to my desk.

It was go time.

I sunk into my chair – it was my only shield. I stretched my arm to my lowest desk drawer and desperately fumbled for the pink Nerf gun that I was now forever indebted to my colleague for. I grasped the Nerf gun and whirled my chair around to see not just one, but FIVE engineers fully engaged in an all-out Nerf gun battle. Darts were flying, innocent bystanders were taking cover with notebooks and coats, laughter and shrieking collected in the air and settled on top of everyone, putting smiles on faces.

Sixteen months later, a few more standoffs under my belt and a hefty Nerf gun upgrade kudos to my boss, and I look forward to our Nerf gun battles. They add an element of surprise, competition and fun to the office and contribute to shaping the Pyramid Solutions culture. My comrades feel the same, so here is a list of why we think Nerf gun battles are a “must” in the office.

1) It’s a fun way to de-stress at the workplace that doesn’t involve intense physical activity or lengthy setup/cleanup. And what better way to take out your frustrations towards my extremely loud typing than shooting me with a Nerf bullet?

– Michael, Senior Systems Engineer, ECM


2) One of the best parts of working at Pyramid Solutions is how easy-going and friendly everyone is, and the fact that a Nerf war could break out at any time (and that basically everyone is armed, sometimes quite heavily) is a great example of our relaxed atmosphere. I even see the Management Team smirk when Nerf darts start flying if they’re not participating themselves. Many companies tout the “work hard, play hard” philosophy, but don’t live up it; I believe that Pyramid Solutions does.

– Alex, Systems Engineer, ECM


3) Nerf gun wars are a good way for employees to have fun and interact with one another. They can be a mental break for those that need it. Typically they only last long enough for the largest of the guns to run out of bullets (3-5 minutes MAX), which means they heighten spirits in short timeframes. Other fun activities tend to take much longer and take too much time out of the workday. They are also amusing for those that do not participate in them

.

– Anna, Banking & Financial Services Account Executive, ECM


4) I think you can relate Nerf gun battles to our Core Values which not only need to be articulated but practiced. Seeing others put core values into practice is both educational and edifying.

Nothing demonstrates the power of TEAMWORK quite like being surrounded by eight or 10 office mates, all working together to pummel you with Nerf darts. 

Rectifying that situation often calls for INNOVATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING.

You realize the importance of asking for help – you develop a PASSION for asking for help. As help begins to materialize, you become more and more GROWTH ORIENTED.

You want to grow both personally (become more vigilant) and professionally (get a six-shooter Nerf gun – better tools make for better work). As the time nears for showing someone else the power of TEAMWORK, your focus sharpens on GETTING IT DONE. Ah, yes, the sweetness of getting it done. 

Reflecting on these things, it becomes clear that applying Nerf battle lessons to work to solve CLIENT problems is part of what makes our team hard to beat.

– Rocky, Senior Systems Engineer, NC


5) Sometimes you just need to take a brain break to solve a problem.

– Kyle, Senior Systems Engineer, ECM


6) First, as a stress reliever when things get too intense in the office. It allows people to blow off steam in a fun wayThe second is that in our industry engineers can get too caught up in the work they do. Shooting a Nerf gun at someone is a good way to force them to interact with others and be more social with the team.

– Brian, Manager, Solution Consultants, ECM


7) For the past two decades, studies have revealed that workplace fun is linked to:

  • Enhanced motivation
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced stress
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Improved task performance

Which in turn benefit the organization by:

  • Building teamwork
  • Increasing employee retention and recruitment
  • Growing trusting relationships
  • Enhancing collaboration and problem-solving

Humans are social creatures – yes, engineers are humans although I do question some of you who may be possible androids. We all need a little fun to cope with the daily stressors we face. At the end of the day it’s all about one thing – the company culture we want to create, and more importantly, that people want to work with and for us.

– Robert, Client Support Manager


8) Nerf gun wars break up the same routine! They bring some light-heartedness into the environment and in a small way they can make you feel more like a team…depending on who is shooting at who.

– Lisa, Accounting Clerk


9) A close, family-like workforce was one of my requirements when I looked for new work. When Kevin told me of the company culture during my interview (including the regular Nerf gun wars), I was sold.

As offices grow and new hires are brought on, it’s almost natural for groups or cliques to form. This process, if left unchecked, can lead to people feeling disconnected from one another. An employee with no perceived connection to their colleagues will have no qualms taking a new and more exciting job. Regular company outings is almost a must to keep things fresh and upbeat in the workplace, but what do you do for the people that are not able to make time after work for more work activities (albeit fun work activities)?  

Nerf gun battles are a must for Pyramid Solutions because…

  • It’s a way to get the whole workforce involved and feel closer
  • It breaks down the groups/cliques and pits all employees against each other
  • Once the dust of the battle settles, new connections are made, existing connections are made stronger, conversations are had, and the overall mood of the office lightens
  • They give employees exciting work stories to tell their families and friends, breaking up the normal day-to-day stories they would otherwise have to tell
  • They’re the best mechanism to form bonds between employees that would otherwise not interact with each other

-Bobert, Senior Systems Engineer, ECM


10) Way back in the day, our old office was really compartmentalized. Three engineers sat to a room in a crowded arrangement. The walls were dark blue wallpaper and the whole place felt claustrophobic. When we looked at new offices, we wanted to get away from that and promote collaboration more broadly in an open concept layout.

Interestingly, when the engineers moved in, we found many of them suffered from Agoraphobia. They really didn’t like the idea of people walking by and seeing what they were working on.

So to break the ice, Marty brought in a Nerf gun and for the first couple of days, he shot people. Engineers being engineers, they looked for solutions to this challenge leading to bigger and better guns. And so it happened – the Nerf wars were born.

The early wars were legendary. They toned down as people became more comfortable with the environment, but they served their purpose in helping us transition from the old office to the new.

– Kevin, Director of Products & Services


11) I started the Nerf gun wars because sometimes you just need to blow off some steam. We were all working hard and needed a fun release outlet.

– Marty, Engagement Manager, ECM


12) We all get bogged down in our daily routines in and out of the office so why not take a break every now and then and have some spontaneous fun!? When a Nerf gun war starts in the office it tells me that the employees are comfortable in their environment, enjoy the people they work with and are not scared to take each other on (in a good way!).  Employees are engaging with each other so it’s a great tool to improve company unity and perhaps release some stress…now I just need to get myself one!

– Amy, Talent Acquisition & Human Resources Manager


If you’re interested in joining Pyramid Solutions and you think your Nerf gun skills are up to par (you will be tested during the interview process…just kiddinggggg), then take a look at our Careers page. We have a few different career opportunities available.

 

About the Author: Taylor is our Marketing Associate. She takes care of all things writing and proofreading related. This summer she’s most looking forward to traveling to Northern Michigan.

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