- August 1, 2011
“You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” – Anonymous (although often attributed to Abraham Lincoln)
As Minister of Office Joy, the OM (Office Manager) of Infochimps, I am well aware of the truth of this statement. However, my career goal is to prove it wrong (at least occasionally), and the chimps have given me a chance to attain this seemingly impossible dream.
My job is pretty simple: remove obstacles to my team, help provide them with the tools they need to shine, and increase team joy. The thought is that happy teammates are productive teammates and productive teammates are happy teammates. A few months ago, we started the Office Joy fund. Responsibility for this fund was put in my hands (insert evil laughter) and I thought, “There has to be a way to get everyone involved and please the majority of the team most of the time, (and maybe even all of them at once every now and then).”
We started off with a big sheet of paper on the wall and a pack of markers. People wrote a lot of things on those sheets, and some of the things were purchased for the office, but there wasn’t a good way to figure out who, as a group, wanted what and who was really pleased by the purchases made.
Then came the tried and true old-school feedback collecting mechanism – the hand decorated Suggestions Box This has been a great tool for quick, easy to execute things (like getting in a particular new kind of Mountain Dew for the office fridge, etc) and also has the added benefit of allowing the suggester to remain as anonymous as they’d like. However, neither the paper on the wall, nor the suggestion box were a complete solution for administering the Office Joy Fund.
After going through a basic setup process, seeding it with a few ideas, and giving our team access, the office excitedly started participating. Our Office Joy UserVoice allows everyone on our team to have a hand in choosing the things we purchase and have around the office to increase employee joy. People can add their suggestions at any time during the month, and they each get 10 votes to put towards whatever suggestions they like best. Whatever the topmost voted thing (within reason) is, wins, and if there’s money left in the budget for the next few things, we’ll usually get those too. At the end of the month, I wipe out all the suggestions, re-seed with some of the more popular runners-up from the previous month, and then the whole beautiful cycle begins again.
We’ve had some interesting suggestions in both the physical box and the online forum, including “lower taxes”, “Champagne”, “a phonebooth (magical)”, “office pet”, and “better instructions for how to use the coffee maker”. Most of those didn’t actually make the final cut. However, of those that did, I think the better instructions one turned out pretty well. We used to have occasional coffee floods, weak coffee, tar coffee, and no coffee days (when none of the coffee masters was in), but those office tragedies are now a thing of the past!
The UserVoice winners this last month were Franklin BBQ for lunch (called by Bon Appetit Magazine, the best BBQ in America!), fresh fruit weekly, and a water cooler. This month’s frontrunners are group yoga lessons in the office, have a team building excursion to Sky Candy aerial arts studio (chimps gotta brachiate), or get our bling on with some Infochimps belt buckles.
All in all, it seems that Operation Office Joy is a success and that people are getting everything they need in order to be successful. The serendipitous happiness we experience along the way is a nice bonus.
Wanna get in on the Joy? We’ve got job openings for a Ruby on Rails developer, a UX/UI design engineer, data engineers and a Head of Marketing. Become a chimp and enjoy the some of the primate love.