SWEATWORK, THE NEW OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

The previous post dealt with work/life issues. After talking a little about why many girls are bored with the jobs they do and then also very tired afterwards, even if it’s only a desk job, it offered up motivations on how that drudgery can be turned on its head in the sense that you’re always raring to go, even if it means you’re going to be packing tomatoes in a crate all day. Those of you who have such positions, junior or senior level, know all about those boring office meetings.

And because it really is boring is not even your fault. The manager or supervisor puts everyone sitting there to sleep. In fact, he can barely stand the sound of his own voice and can barely keep it together on his two flat feet. The boardroom is a claustrophic environment. There’s no windows to open and the only view to look at is the supervisor’s ugly mug. Just as well there are no views because then everyone would be looking out of the window instead of paying attention to what the head honcho is mumbling and muttering across the boardroom table.

You don’t hear about it much yet, but all that drudgery and stuffiness is coming to an end. Corporates and large multinationals have already caught onto the idea. Small, innovative startups, eccentric in their healthy and organic state of mind and body, with something fresh and original to sell to the world, are already doing some crazy things in the work environment that others in suits would never have dreamed of doing.

Now, when I talk about sweat work, I don’t mean the work that you’re doing is causing you to sweat and breathe heavily. I don’t mean that the work is just too difficult for you to manage. What I do mean is that you’re working out while you’re working. Yup, there are companies and work teams doing just that. If they’re not having them in the boardroom, they’re scheduling meetings at the gym. Quarterly meetings are a healthy affair.

No longer are staff being dragged out to some or another square shaped convention center where all they have to look forward to are warm jugs of water and tepid looking, wilting savory snacks and dried out sarmies. Staff are being pumped up and made to feel quite excited about their quarterly or end of year meetings. They are also called team building affairs these days, and the boss is no longer in charge. Instead of being dragged out all the way to a convention center, staff are being taken to outdoor venues where they can enjoy some fun-filled activities, such as paint ball shooting or nature park hikes.

Back to the boardroom. Ever walked into a meeting to find there are no chairs to sit on? No? Well, there are those. This is what happens. Because the boss might not be too keen to stand too long, he’ll be keeping the meeting as short as possible. He will have got his secretary to type out the minutes of the meeting to help him keep things to the point. There’s no chairs in this boardroom meeting. That’s on purpose.

The main reason for this is to get staff on to their feet for a while and stretch their legs after having spent a couple of hours seated at their workstations. Back at their desks, the bosses have come to realize the importance of staff being allowed to leave their desks every once in a while. Staff are not being lazy by wondering away from their desks. They really need a breather and are off to stretch their legs.

One thing that bosses can do, and I’m big on this rule, and I also don’t care what a minority of workers have to say about their rights being abused or violated. I know this from personal experience. Ban smoke breaks outright. Read my lips; no more smoke breaks. Companies are doing this too, these days. They’ve done away with eating at their desks. Again, I speak from personal experience. You can argue with me until you are blue in the face, but you cannot really concentrate and focus on your work while eating a burger and fries at the same time.

It’s messy for one thing. Can I eat a cool green or Greek salad at my desk instead then, some of you are asking. Nope, not even that. But here’s what you can do. You can gather your healthy lunch pack and head off to what is now being called the pause area. This is a tranquil space where you can sit peacefully and enjoy your healthy lunch. There’ll be plants in your vicinity. There’ll also be a TV in place for those of you who want to catch an up to the minute update of the day’s breaking news stories.

And by the time you’re done and dusted with your healthy lunch, you can take a brisk walk before returning to your desk to work productively for the rest of the afternoon. Most of you won’t be forgetting this, but don’t forget you’ve got another shorter break coming to you. It keeps you refreshed and focused. But don’t ever abuse the grace periods your company gives you. Keep to the time allotments, they should be reasonable.

Too much time away from your desk can tempt laziness and a sloppy attitude. Laziness makes you stupid. I’ve been waiting for a long time for an opportunity to say this. And there you go. Patience pays off. At some stage or another, the big chiefs of industry did get it right. Previously, their staff used to think they were out having a good time playing a round of golf with their pals. Provided the guys are walking the length of the nine holes they’ve booked to play, golfing is a healthy way to hold others to account during working hours.