How to make the office green

February 7, 2008

Well, we know that we have some very loyal MyPunchbowl blog readers, but even we were surprised by the latest development….

Just yesterday I wrote “If you’re a friend of Punchbowl, we hope you’ll get a chance to come by and see our new digs at some point. But make sure you come with a plant or other foliage in hand– we could use some!” 

This afternoon, a beautiful plant showed up at our new HQ. I’ve been told that it is an “umbrella plant” which is apparently indestructable. This is a really good thing: not many people here at Punchbowl HQ are great with plants.

Our first greenery was sent by a person who mysteriously signed his name as “Dark.” I happen to know this person very well– and I know he would prefer to remain anonymous. But he’s got BIG new fans here at Punchbowl, and the plant really spices up the office. As one of my esteemed colleagues noted “it really pulls the room together”:

umbrella-plant.jpg

Dark: on behalf of the entire Punchbowl team, we really appreciate the new plant. It was very generous and thoughtful. We promise to take care of it as best as we can– and we look forward to showing it to you in our new office (and lunch is on us!)

So here’s the challenge to our other faithful MyPunchbowl blog readers: help us make our new office GREEN! If you’re an investor, partner, friend, relative or anonymous reader… please send plants! We like all plants, but preferably ones that won’t die easily.

Oh, our new HQ is located at 873 Concord Street, Framingham MA 01701 in case you need the address 🙂

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Fear-based managing hurts your organization

December 11, 2007

I was talking to a friend recently, and she was telling me about the culture at her work. Apparently, one of the employees was getting reprimanded for sending too many emails to family and friends during the work hours. How did they know? Apparently, they actually monitor your internet usage during the day. Yep, big brother is watching.

And that’s not all… during a recent snowstorm, one of the office workers was nervous about her commute home. She decided to leave at 3:30 while it was still light out. When she told her boss that she was leaving early, her boss told her that her pay that day would be cut by an hour and a half for leaving early.

These two examples remind me of how ineffective it is to manage your employees using fear. I’ve worked for bosses where it felt like they were watching my every move. In my opinion, a few things happen when you manage this way:

1) Employees become far less invested in the company’s goals and visions. Apathy sets in, and employees spend more time looking at the clock than actually doing work.

2) Employees learn to be dishonest. Do you really think this management style forces employees to act differently? No way– instead, they learn to work around the system and deceive their bosses. Heck, there are even web sites that offer a how-to guide of how to look like you are working without actually doing any work. If you work in a fear-based office, check it out for some great time-wasters!

3) It sets up a culture of “us” versus “them.” In any organization, there is a hierarchy. The difference in a fear-based management system is that there becomes a clear divide between those who manage and those who do the work. This naturally leads to more gossip and more separation between the worker-bees and management.

At Punchbowl Software, we try to take the opposite approach. We have a grueling interview process to try and hire only the best and brightest. Our culture *begins* with the assumption of trust. We know that you may have business to attend to during the day — from dealing with your car to going to the dentist — and yes, even online Christmas shopping. While we don’t encourage you to spend your day browsing Amazon, we know that there will be things during the week that you want/need to do. We ask for open lines of communication, and we expect that you will still get your job done. At the end of the day, every person of Punchbowl Software knows exactly what’s expected of him/her — the objective is to help the company succeed and reach our goals.

Do you manage with a culture of fear? If so, are you getting the most out of your employees? In my opinion, managing with fear hurts your organization. If you feel stuck in this management style, it’s time to take a new approach. Start fresh by announcing the change to your employees. Begin to treat your employees with trust and respect and they’ll give you far more than you ever expected.

Oh.. and if you are a Punchbowl employee and are still reading this… get back to work!

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