Positive work environments need more than ping pong tables


On a current website go to, I requested a consumer at a producing location about his absenteeism charge. He shook his head and mentioned, “It’s fairly non-existent.” And turnover? “Identical.”

When strolling into the manufacturing unit itself, you get the sense of a constructive tradition instantly. It’s within the worker’s eye contact, the simple conversations, and spontaneous laughter round.

Whereas chatting with him simply earlier than lunch, an worker got here within the door, signed in, mentioned hey, and went again into the plant. After he left I requested, “Is he simply now coming in?”

“Yeah, his shift doesn’t begin till 4, however he’s coming in to hold with the fellows earlier than it begins.”

That is precisely the type of constructive office tradition that ought to result in higher productiveness, over and above the flatlining absenteeism and turnover. In actual fact, the plant supervisor additionally let me know that their manufacturing schedule had elevated dramatically over the previous six months. Though orders had been method up, they hadn’t been capable of fill the slots wanted to fulfill the demand. As a substitute, staff are placing in time beyond regulation to the tune of six and 7 days per week.

Regardless of this further work, the workers had been upbeat, constructive, contributing to the widespread purpose, and displaying as much as work with nobody grumbling.

Clearly they established a wholesome tradition mirrored in decreased absenteeism and elevated productiveness inside an atmosphere that staff need to come to work in. That is the best. However how did this occur?

Essentially the most seen component of their wellness tradition is the ping pong room. It started with a single table simply lower than a 12 months in the past, and has expanded to 3 tables over time. On this room, the bulletin board incorporates the brackets for the competitions and the partitions are painted with photographs of hip ping pong gamers. To encourage participation for individuals who will not be as expert, they’ve established a “developmental league.”

My dialog with the plant supervisor incessantly returned to the enjoyable and interesting table tennis challenges, however what made this cultural transformation work was not in regards to the tables in any respect. They’re only a particular occasion of a normal precept.

Soccer leagues assist staff attain the purpose

For instance, we witnessed an identical cultural change at one other manufacturing office in Europe. They may not care much less about ping pong, however they liked soccer and arrange four-person groups in rotating leagues that swapped round periodically. Virtually everybody performed. They couldn’t wait to get in, play and speak smack with their mates about this type of aggressive comradery.

Absenteeism? Negligible. Turnover? Non-existent. Productiveness? Persistently excessive.

In each circumstances, the tables and groups had been crucial however on no account enough to deliver in regards to the cultural change. There have been much more essential components at work that weren’t so apparent. For instance, behind the scenes there was a transparent dedication to the well being of the workers from the center and higher administration. This dedication was expressed in two-way communication by reaching out to staff, gathering their ideas, then taking these feedback severely. There have been no punitive measures to compel participation. In actual fact, staff performed over their allotted lunch hours and guidelines had been relaxed round getting again to work.

Conventional considering would think about all of this as sloppy work practices as a result of the workers weren’t displaying up precisely on time, enjoyable is taken into account frivolous, and communications are extra horizontal than top-down. Nevertheless, the payback on productiveness and good attitudes went effectively above any stray minutes missed right here and there.

Regardless that the groups and camaraderie had been probably the most seen expression of those wholesome tradition examples, had the websites not applied key components of assist, communication, and customary objective, the ping pong rooms and soccer fields would have remained unused.

The underside line is that a constructive worksite ecosystem have to be grown first, no matter your subject of play.





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