I'm lucky in that my workmates are lush. They are kind intelligent people who share my highly refined sense of toilet humour and like a bit of Sid James-esque innuendo to boot. We work in an environment that has considerable amounts of potential for inducing stress. Think of a scenario where a wandersome underdressed soul has been spotted limping towards the slip road of the A38 whilst another in Dartmouth is, at the same time, contemplating suicide by jumping off the ferry. Who would you deal with first? This is an made up scenario but one that is not completely far fetched. It puts those burning issues that I dealt with when working for Big Eight/Seven/Six/Five/Four accountancy firms entirely in perspective. No-one's going to die if you get their tax calculation wrong! Yet workmates there were more likely to splay you alive for an innocent error that support you through hard times.
But my lot at the moment look after each other. How? Well here's a few ways that we have achieved that harmonious match made in a HR department in Exeter.
- We communicate appropriately. None of this sniping with emails across the bows from work stations two feet away that I've encountered in other offices I've worked in. On the rare occasions we're pissed off with each other we talk face to face. Most of the time though our words are of encouragement, reflection or reassurance or advice that can be taken or left.
- We don't bitch about each other to those higher up the management scale.
- We don't pull rank and have a split between grades or clinical/non clinical staff. Everyone makes the tea.
- If we are aggrieved we complain in unison. Strength in numbers and all that.
- We welcome newcomers in and don't judge them before they've opened their mouths.
- We're not afraid of admitting if we've made a mistake or don't know something.
- We share food. Every so often we have a lunch where everyone contributes but there's home cooked and shop bought nibbles to share on a much more frequent informal basis. There's butter in the fridge and a mutually agreed tea/coffee fund.
- We buy each other gifts. I'm on a mission to get all the girls a handy Skipping Girl tote as they come up for sale on Ebay. Svelte Support knitted us all scarfs and Scary Secretary treated the girlies to a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle last week. Oops, my mistake. I mean we each got a bottle of Lidl's 'Suddenly' by Madame Glamour!
- If someone is below par we notice and take care of them. Where possible they offload a bit of work to the rest of us.
- We have a jolly good night out every so often.
So what's the outcome of doing this? Well for the umpteenth time today we've had feedback that we're the best team that someone's worked with.