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Mind Your Own Business

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WORK: some places are better than others

Environmental Awareness

A factory worker tells a fellow employee, “This is so boring, I’ve got to get the rest of the day off.”

The man asks, “How are you going to do that?”

“Just wait and see,” she says. Then she climbs a ladder, shimmies along an exposed water pipe and hangs upside down from the ceiling.

The boss comes in and says, “What are you doing?”

The woman replies, “I’m a light bulb.”
“You’ve been working too much,” the boss says,” I think you need to take the day off.”

The other worker starts to follow her and the boss shouts, “Where do you think you’re going?”

The man replies, “I’m going home, too. I can’t work in the dark.”

Before I started writing this morning, I dropped my daughter at the library so she could work on a report and study for some exams.

She’s been on term-break for a couple of weeks and deadlines are approaching so she needs to get serious. She has everything she needs in her laptop to do the work at home, but that hasn’t happened.

She claims that’s because in her mind home is a place to rest and enjoy herself.

You may be surprised but that doesn’t bother me.

As a matter of fact, I feel the same way, which probably explains why I often struggle to get these things written.

My office is far too close to the kitchen and the garden… and my bed.

Anyway, the point I’m hoping to make is that how well people work can be affected by their surroundings.

You can’t do factory work in the dark and it is difficult to study in a bar or some other place where people are relaxing.

Obviously this is a factor self-employed people need to consider when they choose their work space, but it is also something office and factory managers should be aware of.

That’s because management practices can have a huge impact on the work environment and supervision is often required to maintain a serious atmosphere.

Too much supervision, however, can sometimes be worse than too little.

A friend recently experienced an example of that one when she went to collect her reading glasses.

She says she has been going to the same optician’s practice for several years because the people who work there have always been friendly and helpful and the place always had a good feel about it.

This last time, however, that was not the case. She said as soon as she walked through the door she knew something was different and when she asked one of the receptionists why everyone seemed so down, the woman responded, “We are being watched.It’s all the time and it’s very uncomfortable.”

As it turns out, the practice recently changed hands and the new owners have installed closed circuit cameras in the office so they can keep an eye on the customers and employees.

The intention may have been to eliminate petty theft and time wasting but the result has been the destruction of a formerly excellent work environment.

My friend says she probably won’t go there again, but if she does, I wouldn’t be surprised if she finds the employees acting like light bulbs or doing something else to get out.