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The Joy of Office Engagement

by Yatin Patel ASEBP | June 13 2019

A few months ago, I was forced politely asked by my wife to watch an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. For those unaware of this organizational phenomenon, Marie Kondo is a best-selling author and consultant with a unique, ‘KonMari’ method of organizing one’s belongings one category at a time. If an item ‘sparks joy,’ you keep it and find a meaningful home for it. The decluttering and organizing goal is to bring peace, joy and gratefulness for all the things in your life.

The episode I watched was of a young family overrun by the accoutrements of children. Their house was a hot mess, piling on stress and anxiety to the parents. To the rescue comes Marie. Utilizing her method, Marie’s able to assist the couple in bringing order back into their lives and find the joy for each other, which they had lost in the pile of folded laundry on the kitchen table.

As a recovering packrat, the show was revelatory—I learned so much! One learning was that my wife does nothing by mistake. The viewing of the show, I discovered, was all an elaborate ruse to KonMari our house. And, it must be said, I’m thankful we did! The sense of relief from simplifying is profound. I can now see all of my white tube socks in my drawer, which bring me joy because I wear them when I go cycling, golfing or to the beach with my sandals (#dadlife). Okay great, what does folding laundry have to do with group health? Trust me, I’m getting there.

Bolster Some Spirit

Another discovery I had from the show was how the spirit in which you do your activity makes all the difference. When folding laundry, it should be done with a ‘spirit of joy,’ rather than obligation. Care should be taken when folding and storing the laundry to show gratitude to the item. Here’s where the wellness aspect plays in: I’ve incorporated this joie-de-vivre approach to my workplace and it’s made my work more enjoyable and fun. I’ve been volunteering for our office Spirit Committee, which is all about sparking joy, fun and hilarity throughout the work day or week. The Committee is comprised of staff from all areas of ASEBP with the goal of making our workplace fun and productive; to show colleagues some gratitude for being important in our lives and to celebrate their own personal accomplishments.

Here’s How it Works

Spirit Committee members volunteer a few hours a month to organize and execute events for all staff. We attempt to have fun days each month to bring some creativity and sense of play to the work day. This could be a small surprise that might make the day a little brighter or something a little more involved. A recent big hit was Scrabble Week. A few Scrabble boards, brought in by volunteering staff, were scattered throughout the office and set up for impromptu playing between meetings or during a break with colleagues. It was a budget-friendly activity and encouraged many conversations around the lunchroom. We also had a tie-dye event where staff could tie-dye a flag in support of the Corporate Challenge theme this year—led by a real life child of the sixties, no less! The Spirit Committee’s bread and butter is pulling together, what we call, Life Events. ASEBP’s entire office comes together quarterly to celebrate the accomplishments and events in our colleague’s lives: becoming a Canadian citizen, having a baby (or grandbaby), purchasing your first home, getting married and volunteering. It’s a wonderful opportunity for staff to get to know each other on a more meaningful level.

Connections and Community

Unfortunately, my time on the Spirit Committee is coming to an end. You see, we can only volunteer for a two-year span, which allows the opportunity for different staff to serve. As I begin to close my Spirit Committee chapter, it’s forcing me to get a little nostalgic and reflect on all of the joy it’s sparked inside me. The Committee’s a rewarding way to build friendships with colleagues in a casual, relaxed environment. I know that my relationships with these colleagues will further boost the effectiveness in my role within the organization and the work to achieve ASEBP’s strategic goals as a whole. Now, I’m looking forward to being a participant on the staff side of things and continuing to grow my appreciation for my colleagues and teammates in different ways.

How does your team organize, or KonMari, yourselves to ensure you lift each other up and inject fun and joy into the workplace? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Yatin Patel

With 11 years working as a licenced pharmacist in Alberta, 'Chops' (as he is mysteriously called) is unravelling pharmaceutical riddles by the dozens as ASEBP’s lead pharmacist. Though he’ll run away screaming when presented with rollercoasters and teenagers (and the two together is worse than being forced to watch Psycho alone in the dark while taking a shower), you’ll want to buddy up with Chops when you’re at the company Texas Scramble.