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Monday, April 9, 2012

The office can be your second home

On average, we spend about 8 hours every weekday, and for some, even the weekends, at the workplace. The self-employed spend more time at their workplaces to the tune of 10 hours per day. Bearing in mind that the time we spend at our workplaces is the most active of our time, when we are fresh and energetic, it is important to consider the comfort and homely feeling we get while at work. On the contrary, by the time we get back home in the evenings, we have exhausted all of the energy, having spent the remaining energies as we navigated through traffic and hence have to share our tired states with the ones we love. This is the irony of life.

But since this is what life has handed over to us, it important to consider ways in which we can transform our work environments into homely atmospheres. In most of the cases, for the work environment to be transformed thus, both the employers and the employees must make their contributions. The employer contributes in terms of any required structural support while the employees bring in the softwares.

The motivating thing in making the work place a homely environment is that it must not be expensive. In some ways, it does not call for resources that are not already available within the teams and for those items that must be bought to enhance this environment, nothing appears unaffordable when the staff join hands. One of the simple ways that an organisation can facilitate this experience is by having team lunches. It is indeed true that sharing food is a magical way of enhancing homely feeling and spurring relationships. As food serves to create and enhance bonds with your family, with your chama, with your religious groups and neighbours, so will it enhance relationships at work.

Depending on the space available, you could plan for food to be prepared jointly and served to all at the office or even in cases where staff carry or buy their own foods, you could consider some space within the office premises from where staff eat. This has a dual benefit. One, it pulls staff away from their computers over lunch and secondly, it enhances team talk away from their office chat. This is a great relaxation opportunity and leads to enhanced productivity.

Secondly, some organisations have found pleasure in sharing in the birthdays of their staff. Believe it not, just as little children get excited when sharing their birthday celebrations with other children, the child within every adult is aroused whenever other people join in to celebrate their birthday. This is truly an opportunity to reach into the innocent and emotional person within the staff. The celebration leaves a mark within the staff and makes staff feel truly valued. The celebrations come along with fun talk and games and this helps relieve stress. It also makes staff see the softer part of every colleague.

Finally, every so often and this could be annually, the staff could consider seasons when they hold family fun days. These are opportunities for office mates to take time off and have fun activities with their families. In addition to the staff feeling happy playing with their colleagues’ children and spouses, the children find it truly hilarious playing with mummy’s or daddy’s workmates. It makes the life of the children truly memorable and helps demystify the workplace. The children get to realize that the parents work with real people and helps when children later on send greetings to some of the office colleagues. You honestly feel at home at work.

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