Aside from being a member of the prestigious Poor Scholars staff, like most Americans (in these trying economic times, “most Americans” is used very loosely) I have the unpleasant task of waking my ass up every morning and trekking to a regular 9-5 office job. This isn’t to say that I hate my job because really it isn’t that bad and generally I enjoy the people I work with, but in relative terms compared to the other things I could be doing with my time, it does suck. A majority of us regular Joes who hold steady jobs in various capacities would rather be doing things like traveling the world, laying on a beach somewhere or in my case sitting on my ass playing video games and watching TV all day. Sadly, only so many people can make up the 1% of society who are able to live like this and at this point the only way this will ever be a reality for most of the population is by some fortuitous event that brings instant wealth (think about the lottery). While being both poor and not white trash enough to win the lottery – seriously there has to be a statistic somewhere relating socioeconomic status to lottery wins – I am resigned to the fact that I will have a normal, median career for the rest of my life.
Why you ask, am I bringing this up?
Tomorrow, the company that I work for will hold a companywide “town hall meeting” to go over the state of our company. Included in this meeting with upper management is to be feedback and suggestions from the peons, err, I mean, “valued employees” on what improvements could be made within the company. Now I probably won’t attend because I’ve got valuable things to do during this time (like surfing the web or putting the finishing touches on a new article for Poor Scholars) but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking of ways to improve the workplace. As stated before, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never lead a lavish lifestyle like the rich and famous but that does not mean there aren’t measures that can be taken to make working a regular job more enjoyable.
Below is the first draft of a letter I am working on to send to the HR department including suggestions that I have come up with to improve my workplace environment. Obviously I have yet to send it to HR because I am sure they will be so impressed I’ll be promoted to boss of the entire company… immediately.
Please feel free to read it and if you have any additional suggestions you think I should add, feel free to leave them in the comments section.
To Whom It May Concern,
In anticipation of our “town hall meeting,” I have done a little forward thinking. Aside from important issues such as general business practices, growth strategies and refinements to our many department operations there is another key issue that I feel is just as important to a successful company. This would be the issue of workplace atmosphere and the general mental health and well being of your employees. Many people have said that a company’s greatest asset is its employees and the key to making sure you have a strong work force is to make sure you are keeping these employees happy.
I do believe the steps that are already being taken such as the push towards new health programs and incentives for everyone and organizing company sponsored athletic teams are positives, but there are many other ideas that I feel should also be considered. Before I get to them, I will tell you that I took a pragmatic approach to my suggestions and put real thought into ideas that I considered possible. This took awesome ideas like letting everyone work from home for one week every month, introducing a summer work schedule and radically changing the work schedule to only 4 days a week. While these changes would greatly improve the attitude and general happiness of our employees, I am not sure they are practical. Without further ado, here are the suggestions that made the cut:
- THEME MUSIC: Upon entering work, everyone would enter to their own personal entrance music. Think about the WWE when considering this. First, most people dream of being a professional athlete and entering a stadium full of adoring fans to our own chosen theme song. Since we all work here, it’s safe to say that none of us realized that dream. This small step would greatly increase moral and would give the common person a small taste of what it would be like living on the other side of the tracks. Second, and I think this is a very important point especially for myself since I am habitually late, it would greatly to decrease tardiness on large scale. Everyone in the office would know when you walked in. No longer will employees be able to slink in unnoticed and 20 minutes late every day because their entrance music will be playing loud and clear for everyone to hear.
“GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!…YES IT IS!…THAT’S RAMBO’S MUSIC!”
“Yea and he’s 45 minutes late to work, again.”
As you can see this suggestion holds traction on many levels.
- MORE WORK SPONSORED HAPPY HOURS AND COMPANY EVENTS: This idea speaks for itself but I will enlighten you as to why this would be a good idea. Our company is growing and while we are at least quadruple in size from the time that I started two years ago, we are still not a huge company. Our company has become fractured and departmentalized. Honestly there are people who work on other floors or even the other side of my floor that I have never met. We aren’t so large that this should be the case. A company works best when all departments of the company work in synergy with each other. To accomplish this, we must have more events (events that include free booze) that enable us to meet everyone. I don’t want to walk past someone in the hallway and not know their name or have to ask five people in my department who the person I should reach out to in compliance is before I get an answer. In my mind, this is flat out unacceptable. Plus these events will allow me to hit on the hot chicks in other departments that I don’t get to speak with on a regular basis. Is that really so much to ask for?
- MONTHY TALENT/CABARET SHOWS: Once a month, we should have a companywide talent show or cabaret where individuals or groups would perform in front of the rest of their peers. Everyone has hobbies and interests outside of work and this would be a creative outlet for a lot of people. We could have people try their hand at stand up or perform short sketches. Dance routines or magic acts, really anything you wanted. This idea doesn’t add much to the business side of our company, but would be another fun thing to showcase the lesser known talents of some of the people we work with.
- AFTERNOON BOOZE CARTS: What is the best way to relieve stress after a long hard day at work? For most people, it is a strong drink. Why not have institute a booze cart that goes around every afternoon to help relieve the stress of the day a bit earlier? Okay, maybe just Friday, most people frown upon drinking every day of the week (clearly, I don’t). This would take some self-restraint from everyone and we wouldn’t be able abuse it. Obviously if we have people puking at their desks at 3 p.m. we can amend this suggestion. In an environment that focuses on working closely with clients, most of us would say we are more relaxed after having a few drinks and would work better with these people. In my mind, client relations would be at an all time high with this new institution in place. Not to mention, people would no longer be as adverse to working late hours if they were allowed to have a drink or two while finishing up some last minute TPS reports.
- GAMES IN THE WORKPLACE: Every day at work, I try to promote a fun and friendly environment. Usually I feel like this is a one-man endeavor. Whether it is singing songs at my desk, telling jokes or funny stories or talking in an unusual accent all day I always try to lighten up the mood of my fellow coworkers and make their days a little bit better. Even so, everyone needs a break every once in a while. This is why I am proposing that we put up Nerf hoops and set up putting greens. Maybe put in an arcade game or a pool table. Even giving us all our own Nerf guns to use would go a long way. Obviously we want to promote a productive and professional work environment but everyone works better when they are in a good mood.
- NAP ROOM: Again this is an easy suggestion to pull off. We have like a million conference rooms in our office and they are rarely being used. We should turn retro and fit one of these rooms with cots, blankets and pillows. Everyone gets tired at work. Allowing everyone to go lay down for twenty minutes every now and then to refresh their body and minds would go a long way towards empowering a more productive employee.
As you can see a lot of thought and effort went into creating this list. I urge you to consider some of these suggestions or at the very least start an open dialogue about them.