Where do you want to work?

I am going to have to save the blog I wrote for this week for another time after what I experienced this afternoon. It brought back thoughts of how important it is to provide staff with a decedent work environment. This will pay much more dividends to you as an employer than the small pay rise you give to try to keep staff happy.

For reasons I will not bore you with I had to visit the hospital. Well, not me personally, but I was the driver for someone. Because of the parking challenges I waited outside and I was sitting in my car outside the ‘Resuscitation Unit’. You may think that I was therefore parked somewhere in the centre of the complex, but you would be very wrong. I was parked in front of a rather dilapidated, formerly mobile, office unit, which had clearly been there for many years.

At some point an alarm must have gone off as a couple of people came rushing out and legged it over to the main building risking life and limb as they crossed the road accessing some of the parking lots, across a small parking lot and disappeared into a wing of the building. How far they had to travel within the building is anybody’s guess, after of course picking up their gear on the way. I hope they had a chance to wash their hands at some point, but I guess if someone needs resuscitation that is not the major concern of the moment.

The message given to this team is clear. They are not critical to day to day operations (this hospital has been the recipient of some severe criticism for its practices, but this is obviously not a major concern), they are not valued, and if they arrive soaked to the skin at the bedside of their victim, that’s OK as it is only a patient. Plenty more of those out there.

I have seen this in lots of businesses – that the work environment has been skimped on. Oh yes, the head office, now that is nice and yes we have an active policy endorsing the fact that ‘our staff is our most valuable asset’. This particular hospital even has a staff lottery! I guess it is a lottery then where you will work. In the word of someone famous: ‘b……t’.  No wonder staff morale is so low.

It does not really matter whether we are talking about offices or heavy machinery environments. Keeping the place nice to work in helps keep it safe, keeps your staff more motivated and will lead staff to care more about the product they deliver. Have you ever noticed that the workshops of the better car dealerships these days look perfect and clean? Don’t you as a customer generally feel your car is probably taken better care of than by someone looking like he has not had a wash in a month working in some tip?

I find it embarrassing that the NHS thinks so little of its ‘resuscitation unit’ that they park them in a worn out mobile unit, but my recommendation is you do not follow their example. A little attention to the place of work helps and in the meantime I better keep an eye out for a better hospital in case I ever need one.

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