Don’t be an office full of zombies.

Written by Kelly on October 26, 2012

Posted in Human Resources

How is your “work-life balance”? That question has always confused me. I feel like it implies that at “work” you are not living. You are a member of the walkingzombie dead, dragging yourself to work and then stumbling your way from 8:00 to 5:00 with your eyes half open.

In movies and on TV, zombies are often seen traveling in packs, bumping into one another as they work toward a common goal…finding humans to eat. Does this describe you and your coworkers? (Well, minus the finding humans to eat part.) Are all of you just stumbling around trying to reach your goals?  As Formstack’s Culturist, it is my job to keep us “alive” while we are at work. How do you keep your workforce from becoming a bunch of zombies? Here are some tips:

  1. Encourage freedom. Formstack encourages people to work when and where they work best. That means you don’t make people feel chained to their desk or office. Zombies, who have lost their ability to think for themselves, are bound to walk the earth thinking of nothing but eating human flesh. You don’t want your employees to come into work and just go through the motions.
  2. Acknowledge that they have a life. I love movies. Everyone at my office knows that. Why? Because I told them I do, and oddly enough they asked. Knowing your employee’s hobbies, likes, and dislikes doesn’t mean you are crossing some great employee versus friend divide. It just means you are acknowledging that they are alive. Zombies can’t do that. Zombies know you are alive just because they want something from you (your life). Don’t treat your employees just like a mindless being that you need work from.
  3. Communicate. Zombies are not the most eloquent of beings. They grunt and raise their arms toward things they want, but don’t really articulate it. You can’t do that with your coworkers. Instead of giving vague directions or hoping that your colleagues figure things out, you should find the most effective ways to communicate. Make sure to foster an environment where feedback is welcome and communication is a two way street.
  4. Don’t let things fester. Another problem a zombie has to deal with is the fact that they are … well … dead. Their bodies are decomposing and any wound they receive will never heal. Maybe a big project failed and an employee is left with a gapping mental wound called “failure”. Do you have an environment that allows people to take chance and fail without feeling like they are never going to heal? A healthy work environment lets employees make mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

If you look up from your computer, smartphone, tablet, etc., and you feel like a bunch of zombies are sitting at their desks, try to find a way to liven things up. How do you keep your office alive?

Photo cred: Mother Nature Network