Friday, March 30, 2007

The Importance of People at Work

I'm still thinking about the real importance of work, following the suicide of someone at my wife's work. It was the second suicide from the same unit in a year, although the other person did it at home.

My thinking has lead me to ask the question, "What is the importance of people at work?", because my wife told me that she had heard about two disturbing comments from people higher up the hierarchy than the victims.

The comments were along the lines of "Well, there are a lot of people working here, so you would expect something like this to happen," and "It happens everywhere."

I'm sorry but I don't expect things like suicide to happen at work, and it's never happened at any other place I've worked at.

The cynic in my is expecting an official response of barring all windows to prevent jumping, and insisting that all new facilities be ground level.

I'm still left with the question - What is the importance of people at work?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What is The Real Importance of Work?

I often wonder about the real importance of work, because sometimes people don't seem to enjoy their work, or their workplaces.

I often wonder about the real importance of work, when sometimes people put work before family and friends.

I wonder about the real importance of work, when someone at my wife's work suicides by jumping from the top of the building.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Company Fix-It?

Springwise reports on Neighbourhood Fix-It, which lets residents all over the UK pinpoint problems which are then sent to their local council to deal with. Stuff like graffiti, street lighting.

To quote from the Springwise report:

As mySociety's (a charity that also created civic-action websites like and Tom Steinberg explains:

Fix-It aims to change the act of reporting faults -
turning it from a private one-to-one process into a public experience
where residents can see if anyone else in the neighbourhood has already
spotted and reported a problem, and to see how their council is acting
on it."

I wonder if the idea could be adapted to companies, too? Not just to report maintenance problems, like a non-functioning air conditioner, but also to raise other issues - HR, cultural, you name it.

There might be a lot of benefit to opening what normally is reported through a hierarchy and transforming it into a corporate experience where all employees can see if anyone else in the company has already spotted and reported a problem and to see how the company is acting on it - without time-wasting, unproductive, turning-in-circles meetings and the usual CYA behaviour.

Whoa, it could just take responsibility, accountability and effectiveness to a whole new level. Wouldn't that be something?

Not that expensive, either. Neighbourhood Fix-It apparently gives free access to the website's source code, although corporate ethics might require some sort of contribution.