work environment

Influence vs Environment : an HR Employee Value Proposition

I’ve never done it before! – sat on an idyllic beach, looking out over the deep blue sea, working on my laptop. Well her e I am in the 5 star Hilton Hotel in Kuwait, sitting under an Arabian tent, scattered with Persian carpets and low, comfy couches, looking out over the calm Gulf waters, intermittently spoilt by a large oil tanker passing by (and reminding me of the riches of this region)

Amazingly I’m not on Holiday either – but have a few hours to waste before heading off to the airport for my 15 hour flight back to Sydney. All of this got me thinking about the importance of the work environment – Here I am being highly productive (done 2 presentations, answered some mails, reviewed a client document and managed to write this blog), spurred on by something that is causing me to feel almost euphoric . Would I have got so much done at the office? – Definitely not- too many distractions and people. Would I have done as much sitting at my home office – More than the work office probably, but still would not have felt as relaxed and keen to do more as I am at the moment.

If I were a Talent director, considering my Employee Value Proposition, then recreating this relaxing influence (note I said influence, not environment) would be a real winner. Imagine having staff feeling so relaxed and highly productive – the creativity and energy would be mind boggling.

We’ve all heard about the Google work environment – is this an example of a relaxing influence (which is what I am experiencing) or a relaxed environment (spatially inviting and culturally aligned to a sense of freedom). I think the two (influence and environment) are different, although I concede that the immediate environment has an important role. Knowing a few people who work at Google – they love their work environment, but after the mystique fades, they are not significantly less stressed or more productive that people I know who work in highly structured and rigid organisations.

Perhaps this has been a moment in my life that “The Planets all Aligned”; I hope this is not the case, because I would love to have this happen to me every day. I don’t know the whole answer, but perhaps it has something to do with me being able to create an experience that suited me – maybe organisations need to provide a framework for operating that allows people to create their own experience. Food for thought – I do know that next time I’m in Kuwait – I’ll be back under my tent with my laptop.