I liked Jon Miller’s post yesterday Seven Ideas Towards a Healing Workplace and it sparked some of my own ideas on the subject. I think the topic is quite important since we could spend over 11,000 days of our lives at work. I thought I would hitchhike on Jon’s list and add seven more ideas plus one. Side note: Adding one more idea than Jon’s list is not a case of list envy or my list is bigger than your list. I am always challenging myself to do just a little more in the spirit of continuous improvement. I highly respect Jon’s thoughts and insights in making things better!
So here are seven more ideas plus one.
Add some rocking chairs. This is not an early effort to look forward to retirement. Some believe that the rocking motion can be therapeutic. I have even seen rocking chairs at airports and have enjoyed it as I waited to board my flight.
Provide a public puzzle table. Puzzles can relax and re-energize your brain by focusing on a simple challenging task to put the pieces together. You would be surprised to learn that the brain still can solve other problems in the background when you are not thinking about them. Have you ever solved a problem while sleeping, in the shower or driving to work? Same principle applies.
Eliminate or reduce harsh noises. How many facilities use annoying intercoms, buzzers, loud machines, rattling conveyors, etc.? Try standing in the middle of your facility when everyone is gone, the lights are out and all the machinery is shut down. Big difference! Buy a sound meter to measure your noise levels and start the kaizen process to lower the levels.
Play comedies on a big screen TV at lunch. Making people laugh and smile does have a positive affect. Just make sure that you don’t show any comedy that would offend anyone.
Provide a healing atmosphere. Installing a fountain or two can help. The sound of running water is thought to be beneficial to your spirit. You can also green it up. Add plants, fresh flowers around the facility and not just in the office. Put the plants in staircases and the shop floor. Yes, even the shop floor! And you can play classical or relaxing music. Music can lift the spirit, soothe the soul and spark creativity. Even though you could considered this section as three separate ideas (and they are), I lumped them together under the disguise of a single idea.
Get rid of the vending machines. This idea will make me an enemy within this industry and these product companies but most of the items are not healthy including the soda. Replace them with healthy alternatives like water (Add fresh lemon slices!), fruit, etc. Another replacement could be to provide a healthy salad bar cafeteria. Not all companies provide a food service but you should try it. It also keeps people from fighting traffic to go out at lunch.
Wear visible name tags. Some people may not know everyone’s name including visitors, new employees, temporary employees, etc. Nametags help encourage open, friendly communication and people like to hear you call them by name.
And for my bonus idea…
Just ask your employees for their ideas! In the spirit of total employee involvement, open up the topic to your employees. They will certainly add to the list and help implement improvements while feeling positive for being part of the improvement process. Remember, change is best done with people and not to them!