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A Stroll around the Office

March 2, 2011

So yesterday, after sitting and doing some super-important HR-type things at my desk for an extended period of time, I definitely needed to stretch my legs a bit.  So I took a journey through the office building – a nice tour that gave me the chance to chit-chat with some folks and see what’s happening in other departments.

Things were pretty quiet as the day was winding down and some people had already headed for home.  But as is always the case, this little jaunt gave me the opportunity to observe and make some mental notes.  So what sort of things did I learn?

  • We will never win any awards for healthy eating; between the empty King Cake box hanging out of the top of a waste can and the Honey Buns and Funyons in the vending machine, it’s pretty apparent that snacks and junk food rock our world
  • We love our coffee.  Even at the end of the day, a couple of pots of Community Coffee were still brewing away
  • We’re active in our community.  Staff members proudly display items representing their involvement with professional organizations, schools and organizations such as the American Heart Association, Junior Achievement and other community and non-profit groups
  • We’re proud of where we work.  Evident by the use of company swag for cubicle and office decor; not because it must be displayed, but rather because employees choose to do so.  And also apparent when I noticed an employee (NOT a facilities/janitorial person) bending over to pick up some windblown trash in the parking lot and throwing it away.
  • Our families are important.  Many people have framed pictures in their work space of their family members – AND of their co-workers!
  • We talk to each other.    While an email may be quick or a phone call easy, we operate with a lot of face time.  People hustle from office to office or cubicle to cubicle, leading to interaction, conversation and ultimately collaboration.

We had several new employees join our team the other day, and while they had been to the office for interviews during the hiring process, once on board they started to really get a sense of our environment.  One of these new staff members told me yesterday “I’ve never worked ANYWHERE that has such a welcoming ‘feel.”  Wow. Now how cool is that?

The vibe, the feel, the “mojo” of the office environment flows out of so many things.  Can you bottle it and replicate it?  No.  Can you allow it to grow and can you nurture it once it’s bloomed?  Absolutely.

I invite you to take a stroll around your office.  What does it tell you about your work environment?  Is it telling you what you hope it will?

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 2:57 pm

    A most excellent post and so truthy! I just started in my new role, and I went from the land of mostly offices (lawyers) and a few workstations (secretaries and paralegals) to the wilds of software/web development with only 3 hard-wall offices out of more than 80 people. And, despite the fact that, at some point, I will be in an office so I can have proper fierce conversations and keep things confidential, for the moment, I’m in a workstation and it is the BEST way for a new person, particularly a new HR person, to get to know the place.

    A stroll through the office is a must for all managers on a regular basis, and for HR folks, it’s a great way to learn, observe, and, as you so accurately noted, nurture the good stuff.


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