Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love in the Workplace? Absurd.

Many of us, while we have an appreciation for this day they call Valentine's Day, may not take it quite as seriously as other holidays like Christmas or New Years, because unlike those days, life doesn't stop for this lovey-dovey holiday. Stores don't close down, school is still in session, and work continues onward. Valentine's day is often celebrated outside of these endeavors because at an adult age, celebrating love with your classmates and co-workers just isn't deemed quite "appropriate." 

What many of us fail to understand is that love is actually a vital part of the workplace. Its presence is needed there, as much as anywhere else in our lives, so that we, the workers, can enjoy what we do and feel good about our time there. 

Now, I'm not saying that we all need to skip across the office hugging each and every co-worker while emphatically proclaiming our love, but I am suggesting that we hold a deeper appreciation for those that we work with. 

Dr. Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. suggests in an article on Psychology Today that love should be a management policy. 

"The essence of love is putting another person before oneself," he states in the article. "Think about that for a minute. Do we need to love those we work with? Imagine the CEO of a distressed company who refuses his or her multimillion-dollar bonus so that one thousand employees would not be laid off. That would be love. How about an employee who agrees to work late so someone can go home early to care for a sick child? That would be love. Or, an employee who drops off a forgotten package to a customer's home after leaving work? That would be love."

When we are loved, we naturally love in return, Dr. Zak adds. 

Ok great, but why does this even matter? What does any of this have to do with the actual work that we're all doing? 

Dr. Zak states that "love is the foundation for trust," and companies that manage with love, build better trust, and better trust in the workplace results in higher employee productivity and morale, lower employee turnover, fewer sick days and more returning customers. An overall more profitable company. 

So this Valentine's Day, try implementing a little love into your work and who knows, maybe it will change your world. 

— Allie Jeppson