What is your policy on Nerf Guns being used at work?

If you were asked to consider the use of Nerf Guns at work, what would be your response to this request?

The IT sector and new start-ups are facing this phenomenon.

How would you communicate a well-balanced view of the potential risks to the individual and the business?

  • Ha! Liking the sound of your workplace!

    On a more practical front, what is the purpose of using Nerf guns and do they actually support that purpose, are they inclusive for everyone? Will they annoy or alienate people?

    H&S would be an interesting risk assessment - what type of guns are being considered, where are they to be used, are they for shooting at targets, or each other, who will be using them, protective equipment like goggles...

    As a starting point? :)
  • Hi Angela,

    I had to google this one! I'd love to know why you are asking, but off the top of my head my response would depend on the context - is it a one-off or ongoing thing, and what's the environment like? Do clients visit? I'd consider if the purpose of introducing them (and perceived benefits) outweighed the following risks/drawbacks:

    - distracting to those working (at best annoying, at worst, adversely impacting productivity)
    - appears unprofessional to staff and visitors
    - potentially harmful (what if fired into someone's eye?). Having never used one, I'm not sure about the extent to which this is a concern...
    - sends a message to staff that playing around at work is ok (again, depends on whether this is a one off or not...and also on your cultural context)

    Personally, I can imagine a place for them at a one-off fun event, but other than that it sounds like quite an annoying prospect!

  • Hi Angela,
    I think I might have missed something, so I have to ask - why would you need to use a Nerf Gun at work?
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    24 Mar, 2016 13:24

    Hi - I like how you've posted this under 'Future Challenges at Work' ;)

    Is this something that has been encouraged by the leadership team / founders?

    I guess I'd rather leave if that was the culture they wanted to nurture. Don't much like the idea of a projectile knocking my cafe latte over my keyboard, etc.

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    24 Mar, 2016 13:28

    Angela opened two threads. I'm merged them.
  • As I was hit in the eye with one of the projectiles at a family summer party last year, I can confirm that it hurt a lot but luckily there was no lasting damage. My response to such a request would be emphatically NO. Horseplay where people may be injured has no place at work and Nerf Guns are for children. And children should learn early (as my grandson did) that you never point a weapon at someone unless you intend to hurt them and are prepared to accept the consequences.
  • In reply to Jenny:

    Great question: A: fun thing to do at work, changing things up i.e -energy, thought processes, getting other attention, other start ups in the IT sector do it?
  • Johanna

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    Community Manager

    24 Mar, 2016 13:40

    My son's got a massive collection - he's 11! Some boys never grow up - I'm assuming it's mainly 'boys' who'd want to bring these into the office? They are a pain - even at home. I'm forever saying 'take them outside!' If you shoot someone at close contact not only do you very easily run the risk of having someone's eye out you also hear a loud noise. Plus you are forever picking up the foam bullets. What boy ever tidies up eh? On the plus side they could be fun if you had a nice large padded room to play in and wanted to settle some inter-departmental 'issues' ;)
  • In reply to Laura:

    Usage -spontaneous and yes to customer / supplier visits on site.
  • In reply to Laura:

    I just shared your question with a friend and it seems they have one in his office! His reaction was 'it's going to take someone's eye out one day'. He works in media.
  • In reply to Angela:

    I thought this was a short lived American fad from 3 or 4 years ago. Perfect for those who want to discover their inner Rambo but for every ecstatic 20 something (predominately) male employee there are many more who equally dislike it.

    My view is this, firms like to do these things because they feel it makes them a 'cool' employer when most of the time it is really just using cliched juvenile games. Of course, some firms will see horse play as the very cutting edge of coolness but in 99% of the time, those who try to be cool end up by looking silly
  • As an alternative view, I work in a late stage tech start up and we have a large box of nerf guns which are regularly used at all levels of the business. They were here pre-HR and they are part of the culture, along with other quirky things.

    The employees enjoy them and occasionally break out in an inter-departmental nerf gun fight - but that is part of our culture. The issue we have, as many other start-ups, is attracting and keeping talent in an environment where salaries aren't always the highest, benefits are limited, and you're fighting with the large well known tech companies to attract good people, so the business seeks to find other ways to encourage people to want to work for them - and it seems to work for us.

    It is a risk having nerf guns in the office but the business are aware of those risks and have chosen to accept them, and (so far!) I've had no complaints.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    24 Mar, 2016 15:18

    In reply to Sarah:

    Thanks for sharing your experience .

    Can't help thinking: 'But if ALL tech start-ups have nerf guns'... what's the difference?

    Are the accepted risks written down anywhere?
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    An interesting article www.cracked.com/.../ A minor note, this article is 4 years old
  • Being "boring" and HR just conduct a risk assessment, mitigate the risks and allow the boys to have fun?

    I am not sure of any documented example of someone being injured in a workplace by a nerf gun incident. I can see the theoretical risks but in reality if we allow 10 year old boys to play with them unsupervised do we really think the risks are huge?

    Would I want to work in such an environment - certainly not. Can I see why some people do - well kind off I guess.