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Plant the social seed

Lets get people, meeting people! Transforming the workplace into a social hub.

Photo of Jonathan Joanes
19 15

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In a working environment, it’s often the people you work along side that makes the day more enjoyable. That cheeky banter at the coffee machine might just lift spirits of just another ordinary day at work. Improving the social health of a workplace may transform the environment completely.

The Concept

A Proposal is not to force people into attending team-building sessions, but to introduce a range of activities and events that provide an opportunity for everyone to get involved in. And by everyone, this means the casual employee, the managing director and even the CEO.

How does it work?

Suggestions for activities and events can be anonymously posted online where a democratic vote would take place. People can then anonymously view and vote for events they wish to participate in. There is not a requirement to attend any particular event but it provides the opportunity for people to get involved if the choose to do so.

On the company website:

Plant a seed to suggest a new event. 

Water the flower to register vote. 

Watch the flower grow. 

Choose what events to attend.

What are the benefits of your concept for the individual and the employer?

The Individual: Personal friendships will be built and strong working relationships will develop. The Employer: Encouraging the workplace to become more of a social hub may create a pleasant experience for employees and lift the atmosphere of an ordinary day at work.

What might the impact of your concept be and how might it be measured?

The impact will be are more ‘family-orientated’ work environment. Hopefully cheeky banter will be flying across the workplace and there won’t be any awkward silences in the elevator. The measure will be an increase in a friendly atmosphere where people, meet new people.

How might your concept be designed to scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

All of this information will be displayed on the company website which can only be viewed and accessed by the workplace. Past events will remain on the poll so people can view what events were successful and attend next time. This will be visualised in a plant growth graphic. As a suggestion is backed by colleagues, the flowers blossom. Similarly as events get fewer votes or less people attend then the flower gradually shrivels.

How might you design a small experiment around your concept that would mobilise action?

This concept could be implemented on a trail basis. If many people respond by planting seeds (suggesting events) and water the flowers (vote for events) then the system would appear to be put to good use.


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


I like the concept of "creating" the activities through voting. One suggestion is that you could tailor the interface to various companies, as the flower analogy just may not fit for all. For instance an automotive company would start with a frame and voting would add parts to the frame to create a complete car.

Also I think it would be important for management and executives to commit to this project. All employees need to know the activities are considered valued by the company, in order for everyone to feel safe and confident in attending. I've worked at many companies that tried to involve the workforce in fun activities. Unfortunately the moment things got busy most employees felt uneasy about attending since management rarely showed up. People started to worry how their attendance of such activities was perceived by their bosses.

Perhaps some sort of positive incentive for suggesting and participating in the events, that is still fair to those who are legitimately too busy to join in.

Photo of Jonathan Joanes

I agree, I just used the flower as a generic visual. However your suggestion of tailoring the visuals for specific companies is a very good one. I also agree that management should participate in the activities too. Its a shame that nowadays a lot of employees don't really come into contact that often with members that are high up in the workplace hierarchy.

Thank you for your feedback :)

Photo of Gaia Montelatici

This is a great idea! And I do agree also with Brett that time-management for the participation in the planning and in the development of events can be an issue. Maybe it can even agreed upon to devote a defined amount of time, for example 15-20 minutes daily to the cause...And maybe this can be piloted as a policy measure of the company itself that then stimulates employees to take rewarded 15-20 minutes to join in...Great metaphor with plant and flowers growing :)

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