Attention managers everywhere: the HUB Singapore has just announced their first colorful pants day. Conventional managers would probably dismiss this as a frivolous waste of time. Just another eccentricity of the startup world. But I think it’s a clever idea with relevance to the workplace at large.
A common criticism of telecommuting is the loss of water cooler talk, the kind of informal, spontaneous conversations that occur during the work day that foster support, camaraderie, and the exchange of ideas among employees. In reality, however, as anyone who has worked in a non-startup environment knows, many of these conversations are rants against co-workers, managers and the workload itself.
So anything that reduces stress and creates a more positive atmosphere should be a good thing, as long as it doesn’t cut into productivity. The question is why more companies and organizations don’t have colorful pants day, or anything that makes the work environment less stressful and shows workers their managers don’t think of them as cogs in a machine.
Gamification in the broadest sense is about making life or work more fun, engaging and social. But solutions don’t always have to be sophisticated, expensive or even digital. Colorful pants day encourages staff to be creative, to have fun at work, and to notice one another. And as a manager, every minute your employees linger at the water cooler talking about their clothes is a minute they’re not complaining about you.
This post was contributed by Mark Schreiber, guest writer
Mark Schreiber is a full time novelist since graduating high school at the age of 15. He also engineered his sister’s bestselling writing career and started and run several businesses, including a solo medical practice. He’s currently interested in technological entrepreneurship in Singapore and Silicon Valley.