OMG, LOL, LFMAO, do you ever read these acronyms in any official communication? Likely not, as there will be one kind of policy from Corporate Communications or the Public Relations department prescribing us not to use acronyms.
Be honest, don’t we get tired sometimes of all those new policies out there? Organizations have become kindergartens, prescribing our behavior and all the things we are not allowed to do. So we decided to pun it and created a policy for you to print out and distribute amongst your colleagues. Ideally, you should print it on company logo paper and add one or two of the typical [your company] bulls*** bingo items.
The purpose of the Humor Desk Policy is to provide an overarching framework for an employee to use his or her workspace properly. Recent company insights have revealed that over 80% of employees are not managing their workspace effectively. This has resulted in a significant loss of innovation, morale and productivity.
This desk policy is considered a highly recommended guideline in normal course of action. Nothing contained in this policy relieves the employee from exercising his or her own judgment and or common sense. The consequences of any lack of vigilance in this area can be severe including lack of innovation and a lousy culture.
This policy applies to employees primarily operating in the service sector who need to revert to their mental brainpower on a daily basis. The content of this desk policy is not to be applied by the employee if it will risk him or her losing their job or arouse potential sources of conflict.
This policy is to be reviewed and co-developed by employees and leaders around the world who are inspired by it and choose to participate in the Humor Desk Policy dialogue with www.chiefhumorofficer.com.
- Employee: A person working to earn a living and is striving for a work-life balance.
- Common sense: is the basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is common and shared by most people in the world, and can be reasonably expected of all people without any need for debate.
- Humanness: pertaining to, characteristic of, or having nature of people.
- Humour: a human invention in magnitude that has a social and practical value to the world, easing social conflict, relieving tensions, and promoting order. Humor is also defined as any form of interaction between people that triggers positive responses and is expressed by laughter and/or smiling.
Objects and Concepts
Set out below are the proposed objects and concepts designed for the employee to access what is suitable for his or her desk space. These are classified according to the following four aspects: physical, living, cleaning, and social.
1) Physical: Defined as the tangible material surroundings consisting of objects, floors and walls. A desk for work is provided; objects can be chosen in no particular order:
Ø Desk: a piece of furniture with a flat of sloped surface, typically with drawers, at which one can read, write, or do other work. As some companies are beginning to see maintaining a constant sitting position as harmful to one’s health, new variations of the desk have become available.
Option A includes a transformation of the workstation by an integration of a treadmill that enables employees to walk while completing their work. Option B suggests the adoption of a height-adjustable desk so that employees can work standing up. The employee is invited to choose his or her suitable desk option.
Ø Chair: a piece of furniture enabling a person to sit at their workspace.
Research has addressed the negative effects of excessive sitting, finding that too much time in a chair can increase risk of diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Recent innovations in design have resulted in chairs that are more intuitive and responsive to different human gestures. Employee is to convince their superior that it is necessary to open up the budget and order new flexible chairs. If employee encounters pushback from management, the employee is to perform a health inspection with the company’s health board. A second option, as mentioned above, is to abandon the chair and stay standing up during a shorter period of time. A third option is to replace the chair with an exercise ball, which enables employees to work on their core strength while sitting. Again, the employee is invited to choose a suitable sitting option.
Ø Sound blockers: Although open-space environments have enabled people to work closer together and share information with one another, inevitably there are times when tight integration can be too distracting. As a result, the company can install acoustically absorbent felt boxes around the office, which can temporarily shelter the employee from the environment and block the noise out. Employees need to simply relocate to these units and continue with their activities.
Ø Lighting: Many offices are often over lit with artificial lighting, which can cause glare to appear on computer screens and can affect an employee’s posture. The employee is to ask for a seat by the window or for a proper lamp that will enable him or her to adjust individual lighting needs on the go.
Ø Easy button: A tool designed to celebrate the completion of tasks, either smaller and trivial or more complicated ones. The easy button is to be pressed with delight! The button shall reply with “that was easy!” and the employee will relax, laugh or celebrate the arrival of the next great idea.
Ø Yo-yo: A small tool to help employee compensate for fidgeting and the usual inability to concentrate as a result of normal work-life nonsense. Employee to use the yo-yo when time is deemed as appropriate. It is highly recommended that the employee uses the yo-yo tool outside of conversation with superior, unless of course, the employee is instructed to do so.
Ø Sticky notes: Little pieces of paper that can be fastened to any surface. Usually available in various colours, stickers can enable an employee to write-down ideas, errands and love notes.
Ø Butter: Simply because everything flows better when it feels and tastes like butter. Any brand will do. Employee is to use butter as a temptation and as a reality check. The audacious manifestation of butter will ignite a conversation and uncover other employees’ deepest needs, insecurities and desires. Employee is, however, encouraged to avoid overconsumption of butter in the form of delicatessens during his or her break.
Ø Notebook: A small book with blank or ruled pages for writing notes. Employee is to use notebook in order to disconnect from his or her screen and effectively use his or her brain to put ideas on paper. Concept has been tested through centuries and has not proven to be a failure as of yet. Employees are also encouraged to use pens.
Ø Small piano: A miniature version of an instrument, enabling an employee a chance to play a tune. This object can also be replaced by an iPad keyboard app for those who consider themselves tech savvy. A tune can act to temporarily redirect the employee’s attention, reveal a hidden pattern or stimulate a short conversation on culture.
2) Living: Defined as the tangible living plants and creatures that are included within our surroundings. Employee is to interact with these objects like he or she would in nature.
Ø Living plants: A living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, etc., typically growing in a pot, absorbing water through its roots, and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis. Plants act to increase the employee’s attention and retention rates.
Ø Cactus: Lower maintenance version of a plant, which serves to remind employee that the reality of work is much pricklier than he or she thinks it should be. If a cactus dies under care of an employee, it can serve as an indicator of poor attitude, sloppiness, carelessness, and is likely reflected in the quality of his or her work.
Ø Goldfish (in a bowl): Mid-level maintenance, alternative to cactus. Fish is much more interactive and serves the employee as a source of: a) companionship, b) alliance in case of conflict, and c) an alternative to looking out the window.
Ø Oxygen break: Not everyone needs to drink a cup of coffee or smoke a cigarette in order to justify taking a short walk outside. Employees can call on the oxygen break in order to take a walk and grab fresh air. Approximately 90% of employee energy comes from oxygen and only 10% from food and water. Oxygen also:
- Heightens concentration, alertness and memory
- Strengthens heart, reducing the risk of heart attacks
- Calms and stabilizes the mind
- Provides a natural remedy for headaches and late-night hangovers
Creativity and innovation require a little chaos. But there is a fine line between temporary chaos - the one that can enhance a creative process, and working in a muddy environment. In fact, recent research from the practice of ‘inscaping’ (read more in the Social section of this policy) has revealed that the cleaning process can do more than just remove dirt from a space. Cleaning can expose beauty, potential and truth of a workplace. Employee can choose to clean and influence colleagues to do the same, helping transform the office space into a more composed environment. Cleaning can also help to reveal lost documents, old notes and stimulate reflection, which can lead to a new idea.
- Cleaning objects: Defined as wipes, disinfectant sprays and napkins as to help employee avoid working in breadcrumbs, coffee stains and sitting in his or her own filth.
4) Social: Defined as the contact methods, atmosphere and culture in which the employee works.
- Jokes: Used in an amiable way, employee can use the process of joking around in order to connect with other colleagues and stimulate dialogue, new ideas and solve problems with ease and joy. Nifty humor can act as a form of icebreaker, stress reliever and increase the overall mood in the office. Employee is to apply common sense at all times.
- Writing on the wall: Although the previous policy prohibited employees to write on the walls, the company has re-evaluated this concept and installed white-board walls around the office. Employee is to use the walls in order to draw out ideas and concepts. Employee can also choose to use the wall collaboratively as to expand on ideas and concepts. Long-term writings on the wall will entice other colleagues to reflect and likely contribute to proposed ideas.
- Provocation: A method the employee should employ in order to push limits, consider the unthinkable, and unleash valuable taboos - all in good taste of course. Employee can also choose to employ provocation while writing on the wall. Another form of provocation would be to seek divergent opinions during a discussion. Employee can listen to a conversation between colleagues and propose the opposite view. This process can lead to alternative answers to a given question and new ideas for reframing the entire question at hand. Again, common sense is also highly recommended here.
- Mild seduction: A method by which both female and male employees can unleash hidden desires and consider ideas as a result of the heat of the moment. The more success employees get from seducing the other, the more self-confident they become helping increase idea generation and the ability to present concepts forward. Both female and male employees need to be careful about creating too much tension in case of physical or mental side effects.
- Gossip: A form of unconstrained conversation about other employees, generally involving details, which are not confirmed as true. Although, highly uncomfortable at first, the use of common sense and gossip, increases employee co-operation, upholds the moral codes and votes employees off the island if they behave selfishly. Employee is to use this tactic with caution.
- Inscaping: The process of surfacing the inner experiences of organizational members during the normal course of everyday work. Employees are to ask questions that go beyond simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers and measurable indicators such as revenue. For example, when asked if the team has met the objectives, the employee can return with a question “how did we experience the project?” As employees expand honest dialogue amongst one another, they can come to understand what social realities operate and influence their environment and how this all affects overall output.
- Pin the tail on the donkey: Every office has a donkey or an asinine situation. Employee can choose to participate pin the donkey as a method to unleash frustration and consider something literally out of the arse. Employee should avoid actually using sharp objects on co-workers as this raises health and safety issues.
- Umbrella: The general mood in the office can vary greatly. Sometimes it rains, other times it pours. The same goes for super sunny positive situations. Employee is advised to open up an office umbrella when he or she needs to avoid getting soaked or burned. Generally advised for out of the office situations as well.
This policy merely sets guidelines for the desk policy. A chosen set of physical, living, cleaning or social methods do not guarantee success and holds a risk to not be working at all. However, these propositions hold a strong probability of increasing workplace morale, idea-generation, co-operation and innovation.
Please feel free to let your imagination run wild and come up with your own additional objects and concepts. Do you have a great idea and would you like to share it? Please send a photo or a message to email@example.com so that other people can be inspired by you!
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