How Your Bathroom Is Killing Creativity

How Your Bathroom Is Killing Creativity

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.08.14 AMA recent Gallup study shows some staggering numbers regarding workplace engagement and happiness. The latest figures indicate that 70 percent of Americans feel disengaged in their jobs. Meaning they’re checked out, sleepwalking through the day, or worse, just passing time. If that wasn’t bad enough, of those 70 percent, 18 percent are ‘actively disengaged’, meaning they are miserable at work and actively undermining coworkers and sabotaging projects. Gallup estimates that ‘disengaged’ employees cost American businesses a whopping 450 to 550 billion dollars!

The numbers don’t exactly put you in a great mood. In fact, they should cause you to sit up and ask yourself a few questions…

  1. Are my employees happy and engaged?
  2. What can I do to further engage my teams?
  3. What steps can I take to improve workplace happiness?
  4. Is my company culture advocating creativity, passion and purpose?
  5. Is my workplace environment designed to fulfill my team’s needs?

Conversely, the Gallup polls also indicates that 30 percent of Americans are engaged in their jobs; meaning these employees work with passion and feel a strong connection to the company and its values. Although the number is small, this group offers some great insights into making workplace happiness a reality for all.

The Roma Team celebrating their recent St. Patrick's Day bake sale.

The Roma Team celebrating their recent St. Patrick’s Day bake sale. Which raised funds for Roma Wish, the company’s charitable initiative.

Some industries get it more than others! The technology industry continues to focus heavily on their team’s engagement. Companies such as Google and Facebook understand the importance between workplace happiness and performance. A recent Hollywood film, The Internship, starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan shows the pair working at Google and the amazing workspaces throughout their campus.

Recently, organizations like Pixar and Zappos are pouring millions of dollars into redesigning workspaces, tearing down walls, designing cool chat spots and focusing on creating work environments that feed creativity and foster collaboration. At Roma Moulding, we’ve followed suit by investing considerable amounts of time, effort and resources into creating a world-class environment aimed at enriching the work experience.

I can vividly recall a pivotal moment that got the ball rolling for us. On March 20, 2011 the first wall came down at Roma! It was a wall that separated two vital components to our business, our credit and operations teams.

“I truly couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Maria Conforti, Accounts Receivable. “It went from one extreme to another. We were off in our own dark little corner of the office and suddenly were in the thick of it all. I didn’t know if it would work because in accounts receivables, we need to have private conversations about money and credit issues. Now, we all love it and couldn’t live with it any other way. We’re so glad to feel like and to be part of the bigger picture.”


Watching the walls come down can be tough but rewarding!

Even I must admit it was scary to see the first wall come down but each wall came down easier after that. It was truly remarkable, for the first time ever; I started to see people, the lifeblood of our organization every day and loved it! I got to know team members better and saw their magic in action. Today, some four years later, Roma is a completely different environment. When former employees and guests that knew us before come to visit, they hardly recognize the space. In fact, they’re Wowed by the transformation and can hardly believe their eyes.

Below is a list of things you can focus on to help create an engaged, vibrant workplace that can rival Google:

10. Make your bathrooms memorable not horrible.
9. Have mobile workspaces available.
8. Invest in great chairs, it makes people really happy!
7. Secure some quite spots for deeper thinking.
6. Focus on natural light and introduce greenery.
5. Maximize ceiling height as it’s proven to spark inspiration.
4. Ensure you have background sound to eliminate white noise.
3. Strategically place departments so communication flows quickly and seamlessly.
2. Create fun, cool huddle rooms and chat spots to evoke collaboration.
1. Tear down walls and create an environment of transparency.

On one of my many trips to Zappos, the famous online shoe and apparel retailer, and one the top 10 best places to work in the US, I came across something really cool. For those who don’t know about Zappos, their company culture is one that focuses on employee happiness. Immediately after stepping into their headquarters, you quickly see what I call, controlled and structured craziness. While on a Zappos tour, I came across a sign that read, “If your company has a clean desk policy, the company is nuts and your nuts to stay there.” Thomas J. Peters, American Management Expert.

PYS Winners

Roma Moulding’s 2015 Pimp Yo Space winners, the Growth Team.

My ultimate workspace dream is to have every team member at Roma select the workspace of their choice based on how they feel that day or which teams they’re currently working with. It’s a total freedom that only mobility can afford! I’m working towards equipping everyone with laptops, soft phones, wireless internet and amazingly designed workspaces that will aid the creativity, innovation, engagement and happiness soar!

Focusing on your work environment is one clear way to stop your employees from feeling disengaged.

Show me your workplace and I’ll guide you in making it great!

Tony Gareri

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  1. Gordon Thain Says: March 27, 2015 at 8:50 am

    So very true, we need leaders to actively take steps to improve the work environments. Nice read!

  2. I’ve got to say, that I’ve worked in some pretty bad environments in my time and can attest to the difference an open and inclusive workplace can make!

  3. I agree with Maria Conforti. It was scary in the beginning but now we truly do love our new work place.

    • Tony Gareri Says: March 28, 2015 at 10:20 am

      The Credit Team at Roma was one of the first Teams to experience the Open Concept… I applaud you all for believing in what we were doing early on!!! Its great tot see how far you have all come!!!

  4. Work environments are so important to ensure employees stay engaged. It’s refreshing to see how organziations are listening and try to get more creative where they can! Committment starts from the top!

    • Tony Gareri Says: March 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Your absolutely correct!!! I say this time and time again…if the Top Leadership does not embrace the Culture Transformation… Leave!!! Harsh but true!!!

  5. Your work environment should be a place where people feel comfortable, inspired and most of all have fun! #growthteamchamps

    • Tony Gareri Says: March 28, 2015 at 10:25 am

      The adage is simple: Wake up and strive to deliver Happiness… in turn, your team will do the same to you and their respective customers / clients and friends!!!

  6. I hope to see more companies take this approach. Care of employees makes a world of difference both on and off the clock!

  7. The statistics are real and they always have been.
    Reading this is one thing, but acting on it means time for personal growth or change.
    Like getting married or having a family, they are “Anchor points” in one’s life. We never forget them.
    On such a large scale as this, you affect many people. “As you give-so you get” The smile on your face often comes from receiving back 10 fold, or allot of personal growth!
    To this I salute you all!!
    Thank you for blogging your personal thoughts and sharing the Roma culture. This is such a positive impact on us as proud independent distributors of Roma Mouldings!!

  8. Doris Pontieri Says: March 27, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Open concept working is inclusive and you always feel the friendship of all around you. It’s like a big hug.

  9. Jack Carpenter Says: March 27, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    It’s nice to have you driving this ship, the environment is so positive!! Thanks for all you do for us.

  10. tania santana Says: March 28, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    We spend 80% of our lives at work! We should pick a company to work for as we do our life partners. How we are valued at work is a direct correlation of performance.

  11. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Not at all Desirae! I takes time and dedication but doesn’t have to cost a lot. WordPress has many incredible templates that make creating, updating and publishing ultra easy. I encourage you to check them out!

  12. Elaine Thompson Says: March 30, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    What about teachers and schools? Teachers have so little control in the field of education except in their own little nook– the classroom– and parents had better agree with that, or else the teacher is kaput.

    • Hey Elaine,

      You nailed it. Teachers are in such a tough spot and many still thrive despite not having much support to do so.

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  14. Jo Anne Garcia Says: March 31, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    It is important to feel valued at your place of employment, almost as important as in your personal relationships because we spend so much of our time at work. I am so grateful to work at a place that values their employees! Great Leaders, Great Team! Thanks Tony!

  15. Jen Gold Says: April 9, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Roma has truly created the ultimate office experience! I am on the road most days but wish I lived close enough to stop in at least once a week to get rejuvenated.

    • Tony Gareri Says: April 12, 2015 at 10:29 am

      We wish you could too Jen – The “people” on our team create the environment!!! I love when I see it come alive –

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  23. Greetings! Very helpful advice on this article! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  24. Keep this going please, great job!

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