Culture

How Your Bathroom Is Killing Creativity

March 24, 2015

A 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. 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:

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

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

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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