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Do you believe in happy work places?

EmilieT
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Hi everyone, 

 

Earlier this year, O2 took part in the Northumbria Water Group Innovation Festival. This unique event aims to identify innovative and creative solutions for a range of societal and environmental issues. Over a 5 days Design Sprint, the participants generated a wide range of ideas, a lot of them focused around mental health and happiness in the workplace. You can read more about this on the O2 Business Blog here.

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 09.57.02.png

 

We all spend most of our time at work, and  it's really important to make sure that we feel valued and motivated there. Our time in the office shouldn't generate mental health issues, and the right environment and conditions can create a happier, healthier, safer and more productive workforce slight_smile

 

Everyone has a different idea of what their ideal work place would be like, so I thought it'd make for an interesting discussion:

 

What makes your work place happy?

What do you think could make it happier? 

 

It could be more flexibility, feeling listened to, having office pets, some perks such as on-site gym, regular team activities or free breakfast ... nothing is too big or too small, so I'm looking forward to reading your comments!

 

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pgn
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There is definitely an art to designing and deploying a questionnaire, as well as analysing and interpreting the results.

Alas, many companies get a consultant/specialist in to help design the (vetted) questionnaire, then dole it out without any support (you supported yours, @Cleoriff).

Naturally, answers come back in all over the show, but the collated stats are distributed to department heads and it all falls to pieces as each is pressured to define and deliver a plan to "improve the score".

The perceived anonymous questionnaire then becomes the basis for a witch-hunt... "who brought my group's score down in this area" instead of "how can I help address my team's collective and individual perception(s)". 

Perhaps if they invested some time up-front, the results would be useful rather than GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).


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darrengf
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Happy Places are key for things to work.

 

i great people how I want to be treated.

 

im always happy, smiling and chatty. Even when I don’t feel it.  Good morning and good afternoon never hurts.

 

my farther taught me one saying before he passed away.

 

if you can’t do some one a good turn, then don’t do them a bad one.  Stuck with me and is my motto.

 

😀👍

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Anonymous
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A lot of importance is attached to “Investors In People”, and there are some very good initiatives that have been introduced in the workplace as a result of that scheme. 

 

But sometimes management are guilty of overthinking problems, and they end up trying to create solutions that aren’t always practical for their staff. To give just one example, our company has an overly strict no smoking policy, which goes beyond what the law actually requires, and instead of providing designated smoking areas, they’ve banned it completely. Creating a “smoke free environment” would seem to be an admirable objective, and it might even serve as another tick in the box towards that all-important IIP accreditation. But the people who make such policy decisions from the comfort of their boardrooms, often overlook the difficulties involved in actually implementing those initiatives. I’m not a smoker myself, but I see the effects of a poorly thought out policy on a daily basis, and if you provide impractical solutions, then it’s not surprising that staff end up treating them with the contempt that they deserve. 

 

Listening to staff, is of course an obvious starting point, which can help create a better workplace environment. But senior management just need to get out of their offices more often, and have a look at what’s actually happening on the shop floor. 

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Cleoriff
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Totally agree with the comment 'Get out of their offices more and see what's happening on the shop floor' comment @Anonymous

 

One such initiative (Government led) was to cut down waiting times of patients attending A/E dept.

Designed by people who had never worked in an accident and emergency dept. Never experienced the trauma and level of care required to resuscitate clients whilst dealing with a waiting room full of others.

 

Staff are constantly being criticised for failing to meet these 'targets'. So what happens? You cut the care you should be giving, in order to meet the totally unacceptable targets.

 

Oh and please don't get me started on the 'patients waiting on trollies' issue!! If a hospital is full to capacity and there are NO beds to be had anywhere, where else can they go? You can receive the same level of care on a trolley as you can in a hospital bed.

 

Maybe a couple of the 'ivory tower' policy makers should come and do a full week (days and nights) on a busy Accident and Emergency dept. Only then will they be able to make policies based on facts.

*The Game Is On*

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sheepdog
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@Cleoriff & @pgn, the thing is with surveys and questionaires, the one thing I picked up from a statistics module at university was that you effectively ignore the lower and upper values and pick the median values for your reporting. That stuck with me so instead of filling low end scores, I'd intentionally move it past below the presumed average when answering. Encourage a few to think like that and thats how you get managements attention with facts and figures based over time. 

 

And in my company, upper end management send round an annual survey which they insist you fill in as you get targeted if you don't fill it in. All they end up being are a way of them deciding on their bonus targets and what they little they can do to achieve them. As in "well we asked and this is what the people wanted" knowing full well the questions are rigged.

 

So for my happy place, I have the ultimate solution: I work from home yahoo

 

But seriously, I tend to find that if a company does the minimal upkeep for a building the less motivation for the staff there is to show pride in the company. In the various offices I've been to within my organisation, its quite noticeable the difference between offices which results in a totally different atmosphere to say you want to be there*. Outsourcing service contracts always means the contract bid is low so there is no easy way to approach the service company but gets bogged down in tickets rather than the far more effective one-to-one. That means they can delay fixing until they want to do it or are forced to to meet their agreed SLA (service level agreement).

 

* and putting them in stupid places where people don't want to be because its cheap is another factor. 

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Cleoriff
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As I said earlier @sheepdog, if you want to achieve change to make improvements to the system, then you can design a questionnaire to do precisely that.

 

I'm not talking about large corporations (although the NHS is probably one of the largest in the UK)....although my questionnaire was designed for one NHS Trust.

After I designed mine, I interviewed all senior nurse managers, ward sisters,and senior staff nurses.

I didn't just hand them out for completion, I saw everyone on an individual basis. 

 

Nursing personnel are a funny breed. If one of their own (me), is sitting with them and showing them ways to improve patient care and help them manage their staff to achieve goals, they will usually opt for this with very few objections.

 

In the final section of the questionnaire there was a box asking what problems, if any, did they envisage?

50% said 'none', 48% stated 'time' and only one very senior manager said 'her nursing auxiliary wasn't clever enough to achieve the levels of competence I was looking for'

 

Luckily, I ignored that statement. So pleased I did, as that same auxiliary after completing the course we designed, then entered nurse training and last I heard was Head of Nursing at a hospital in Essex.

 

One of our own who started at grass roots level. Quite an achievement ...

All started with a questionnaire wink

*The Game Is On*

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pgn
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The anonymous (but not really) survey is the one that gets me... And where a team is small, it's not too difficult who answer which question s what way... There has to be a more people-friendly way.
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jonsie
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Throughout my time t the bank, every year we were compelled to log on to the company questionnaire/survey. This was completely anonymous of course, despite having our company log on details. All a bit of a farce to be honest. They also failed to take into account the discussions by the poorly paid, overstressed staff between themselves at various times beforehand. The same questions every year give or take minor amendments and it was agreed by staff how we were going to answer some of the questions because it didn't matter...,.it was all anonymous, right?

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Cleoriff
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@jonsie wrote:

Throughout my time t the bank, every year we were compelled to log on to the company questionnaire/survey. This was completely anonymous of course, despite having our company log on details. All a bit of a farce to be honest. They also failed to take into account the discussions by the poorly paid, overstressed staff between themselves at various times beforehand. The same questions every year give or take minor amendments and it was agreed by staff how we were going to answer some of the questions because it didn't matter...,.it was all anonymous, right?


Yes and probably achieving goals known only to themselves!!

*The Game Is On*

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pgn
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Sounds exactly like the way it is done where I work, @jonsie - unsurprising, given the CEO originally came from one of the big US banks, now I think on it.

Anonymity, yeah, good one that--even if I meant to say "too difficult to *find out* who" in my last post in this thread, missed the 'find out' bit that anonymity usually means is not available.
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