Help me make bugging people fun!
October 1, 2013 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I send a monthly e-mail to my department at work, reminding everyone to update their records in our project tracking system. I've been trying to make this fun and get everyone's attention by using jokes or funny pictures in my messages. However, I'm running out of ideas!

Do you have any suggestions for funny or clever messages or graphics I can send in my monthly e-mails? (FYI, these are going to about 20 individuals, mostly middle-aged, and need to be office-appropriate.)

Some of my past messages have included:
  • "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Tracker." "Tracker who?" "Track 'er down to make her updates!"
  • a picture of an elephant with the logo of our tracking system "tattooed" on it, reminding people that "an elephant never forgets"
  • the Round Tuit (people loved the round tuit!)
...Followed by the standard reminder of what to update and a deadline.

It should just be somehow related to reminders, trackers, or making time to do something. Thanks for your suggestions!
posted by LolaGeek to Work & Money (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Faux ransom note (with the cut out letters), to the effect of "update your projects or your car goes under the torch"
posted by jquinby at 11:00 AM on October 1, 2013

"If you don't update your records, I'll kill this dog."
posted by Etrigan at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry you got stuck with this pointless and thankless task.

This won't work unless the folks who use the tracker from on high instist on it, and hold the users accountable for making the updates.

Using cutesy reminders cheapens you and the tool.

I am responsible for user adoption in our group and here's what I tell managers, "Inspect what you Expect." In other words, if you're asking people to keep the system updated, call out the folks who aren't updating it!

We use a "Wall of Shame" and our President does NOT want to see names on it. The system automatically updates for any out of date opportunities/projects.

Can you pull a report from the tracker that shows the date of the last update? You could send the report out to everyone letting them know, "Hey, these are the folks who haven't updated in X days.

/climbs down off of soap box.

Seriously though, the reminder should NOT be necessary.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I use this AskMe thread to inject just enough humor into my monthly emails to be not-boring but not enough to be super-annoying (I hope).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far! Not sure how well the threat of shooting a dog would go over, but it did make me chuckle.

Ruthless Bunny, surprisingly, people really seem to enjoy these reminders; I always get nice feedback after I send them out. We actually review our current projects all together at our monthly team meetings, so if someone's records are not up to date at the time the report is run (conveniently, shortly after the reminder goes out), everyone gets confused and the person responsible has to explain, "Oh yes, I forgot to update this one."

For the people who use it, this tool is just one more system that they have to keep up to date, so I can see that it seems like just more work for them, so I at least try to make it something fun.
posted by LolaGeek at 11:13 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could raffle off a small prize to one of the first X people to respond - in one office I know of, raffle prizes were usually cheesy things like souvenir keychains from locations recently visited, etc., of very low value.
posted by bq at 11:35 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Vintage posters.
I want you to update that system
Gee, I wish I were a man ... I'd update that system!
We can do it! Update that thing today.
posted by evilmomlady at 11:55 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Movie references:

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
posted by evilmomlady at 12:05 PM on October 1, 2013

A small joke or bit of appropriate company news (not gossip) is good but mostly keep up the variety and the tone of "no stress -- don't forget, just do it now".
posted by sammyo at 12:12 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Your coworkers may not be the right group for this, but I think a few memes from memegenerator can get the job done:

Willy Wonka style

Sound of Music style
posted by Bella Sebastian at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would turn it into a contest. First one to get it done gets a chocolate bar and gets to keep the "awesome" award for the month. Or, conversely, the last person gets the "award of shame" at their desk for a month.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:49 PM on October 1, 2013

Your suggestions are a lot nicer than the head of my web group meeting literally calling people out by name on the agenda in order to get them to do things.... Though in all honesty, it does work to shame people, apparently.

I like the ransom note or contest ideas, personally.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:21 PM on October 1, 2013

Best answer: If you do submit your tps report on time & read the entirety of this message, please don't spoil the secret ending to your comrades!

(& then don't include a secret ending) (those dastardly email writers had me going a while!!!)
posted by tilde at 6:05 PM on October 1, 2013

Best answer: I don't know if you'd find anything like this applicable in your workplace, but you might consider augmenting your regular email with something unrelated to the computer, something around the office that everyone will see during reminder time.

I used to work in cubeville for a health-related company, everything monotone and cookie cutter with long long hallways. I had a "stuffed nose" toy from pharma schwag, which was essentially a 10" nose with arms and legs. My cube was on a hall so most people passed by at least a couple times a day. So the nose sat atop my cube wall facing them. I gave him googly eyes and created a whole wardrobe for the little schnoz. He had a bowler hat, a Minnie Pearl hat, Lennon glasses, a peace necklace and a flowered headband, a little suit. And a voice bubble. His wardrobe was limited but his message would change often. Sometimes people would detour my way to see what the nose was up to that day.

That's one sort of direction you could try. Something with a changing voice bubble that occasionally reminded them it was update time.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 2:18 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks again for these great suggestions! For those of you suggesting physical prizes or non-email communications, our organization is actually located across four different sites around the country, and even at my own site, people aren't always in the office. So e-mail and teleconferences are pretty much all we have. AnOrigamiLife, I do like your idea though, maybe I could set up a little character at least at my own desk, and e-mail photos of it to the people at other sites...
posted by LolaGeek at 10:23 AM on October 2, 2013

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