The Sunday evening dread. The Monday morning grumble. These are the emotions emblazoned on kitschy coffee mugs, the experiences that drive nearly every workplace comedy. Free caffeine and donuts might smooth over the roughest patches, but an increasing number of employees are looking to work for organizations that are, in a word, happy.
I mean coffee and donuts definitely help, but what about an office where people are actually healthier when they leave? Can you create a place that inspires creativity, that cultivates camaraderie and, dare we say, promotes joy? In 2017, the collection of yogurt-eating, practical-shoe-wearing sustainability wonks at GBA decided to test this hypothesis. Grab a shoebox, a pile of recycled paper, and join our adventure into the workplace wilderness.
The Love Your Space program began in earnest about two months ago. The premise was this: think of a project less than $100 that would markedly improve your experience in your space. The ideas would be graded on a rolling basis, and selected based on a well-specified happiness rubric, namely managers’ preference. Bonus points would be allocated to anyone who made our Education Director Leslie smile.
With this scientific approach in place, our naturally enthusiastic staff submitted no less than 9 ideas. I myself was immediately inspired to submit a proposal. If any of you have traveled to our office, you know the space is LEED Platinum, beautiful, open, and filled with light loving plants. You also know that it is close (but not too close) to basically everything else, namely other offices, public transportation, and snacking options (see coffee and donuts above). The solution to all of our woes: an office bike!
A few weeks in and a reusable napkin regime later, my office bike idea was selected. I will admit that I underestimated the task of finding a bike that fits our staff’s unique hobbit to giant height range. But after bending the $100 rule slightly, I found a bike that would get all of us from Point A to Point B, with only a few bent knees to spare. With over 20 trips under her belt, Kermit has helped us to satisfy lunch cravings, avoid road rage, and save CO2 emissions! And not to shamelessly plug, but she even has a place to live in our recently renovated bike room (which I had no role in creating).
The Love Your Space concept and now office bike represent one of GBA’s founding principles: the freedom and ability to express a shared vision for a place we care about. Yes, I am totally drinking the Kool-Aid, but it’s Kool-Aid that I conveniently purchased while riding back to the office. So what’s not to love?