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#Podcast 20: The Power of the Workplace Moment!

In our Podcast series “Sh*t You Wish Your Building Did!”, Memoori explores the intersection between technology and commercial real estate through interesting conversations.

In Episode #20 of our Podcast, we talk with Adam Sismey from Playfully about ‘The Power of Moments’ and why they are so important, as companies struggle to find the right hybrid work balance for their employees. We go in-depth into why Workplace Experience is more than just bean bags and ping pong tables AND how defining moments in the Workplace with create a stronger company culture and improve collaboration!

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#20 The Power of the Workplace Moment!

Transcript of ‘The Power of the Workplace Moment!’

James: Fantastic to have you here I have followed your stuff online for a while now um and you run a company called playfully yes and some of the things that you’ve been posting out I think really resonated with me where you’re talking about the workplace experience that’s something that you know I write about it in my company yeah and you talked about this concept of defining moments so that’s where I wanted to start today tell me I guess what a moment is yeah and why they’re important.

Adam: Okay great question to start with so defining moments come from a fantastic book that I can really recommend called The Power of moments I’ve got a copy here we go nice sound effects for your listeners there the power of moments is written by chip and Dan Heath I’m assuming they’re Brothers otherwise they’re just coincidentally got the same certain I’m pretty sure that they’re Brothers now a defining moment is short experience or event that is both memorable and meaningful in essence they are moments that matter moments that you can look back on in your life that really stand out to you okay so if you think about your life generally you have a lot of defining moments without even having to do anything they’re kind of predefined I’m thinking about key birthdays I’m thinking about marriage I’m thinking about deaths in the family I’m thinking about promotions these are all defining moments that somehow are precious and memorable to you the great thing is that we can actually create an engineer our own defining moments and these are moments that are going to be elevating the everyday it’s something special right so if you think about possibilities in your your week your month your year whether it’s personal or in in the office to do with work you can actually create these defining moments okay and there’s four ways that we can create these defining moments the first one is through elevation so you elevate an everyday activity you add some novelty you add some surprise the second way you’d create defining moment is through Insight that would be a personal reflection or a realization it could be wow I really love what I’m doing um let’s say as a hobby and I really want to do something like that at work a bit like I had with my improvisation theater another way is through connection this is a shared social experience of people together okay and that creates this kind of defining moment for you so the fourth one is pride and this is kind of like a Personal Achievement it could be a team achievement as well it could be completing the marathon for the first time or it could be completing a project as a team so they’re the four ways that you can actually create defining moments.

I’ve got a great case study a great reference about elevation. In LA there is a hotel called The Magic Castle Hotel okay off the face of it this looks like a pretty average Standard Hotel it’s a converted two-story residential complex converted to a hotel the interiors and the decor look pretty standard quite basic and the pool they have is on the small side they have worked out that not all the details need to be perfect because this is one of the top rated hotels in the area and the reason why firstly is great service secondly is they have created something they’ve created a defining moment for people and it’s called the popsicle hotline now picture this James you’re on holiday there you’re staying at the Magic Castle Hotel you’re in the pool it’s rather on the small side feeling hot and sweaty you look across to the other side of the pool and you notice a vintage red telephone seems a bit strange right your curiosity leads you to go over and you pick up the phone and somebody answers hello popsicle hotline within a couple of minutes you are being brought a popsicle a nice pop a nice pole whatever you want to call it not only do they just bring it to you they bring it to you on a silver tray the person’s wearing white gloves and they offer you this Popsicle for free now in terms of your your stay at this place that is very much a great example of a defining moment because it’s surprising it’s surprising it’s novel and one good thing to mention is that there’s re been research done on this on defining moments experiences events and people tend to remember two things the first thing they remember is the peak moment which is the best moment or the worst moment and also the end moment the close of something so whether you’re thinking in terms of a meeting a party an event you can start creating and designing your event or experience knowing this in mind

James: Yeah I mean it’s fascinating I think some of these um ideas and Concepts around um around moments um and I will definitely read the book to bring this into the context of the workplace and you know we I feel especially this is such a timely moment right because of what’s been happening for the uh the last three years uh We’ve now getting into this period where you know we’re not just working remotely people are back in the office as well we’ve got this hybrid experience I’m sure in the work you’re doing you’re finding actually that’s that’s um putting pressure on teams and it’s a it’s hard for them to connect and be creative and productive a lot of uh people who run workplaces who are responsible for them are struggling with these thoughts trying maybe to get people back to the office or whatever what can they take away from this yeah it’s not just about bean bags free breakfasts and and ping-pong tables is it correct what can they what how should they be thinking about

Adam: yes so it got me thinking how can we apply this to the new hybrid situation how can we apply this kind of methodology or technique to incentivizing encouraging people to get back to the office we know that remote working has been hugely well received let’s say it’s such a strong package isn’t it so we we do know that one thing that’s missing from working from home from remote work is the relational side of being in a team being in a business so that’s why it’s absolutely great to try and get people back into the office how can we use these defining moments what could a defining moment look like in a hybrid situation back in the office what you need to do is think of what are the key moments the key transitions in a working day what would they look like maybe when you arrive to the office lunch is a key potential right fika break leaving the office and I also said out jokingly when you go to the toilet okay these are all kind of little moments where you could potentially elevate so I don’t know if you’ve seen the guy Troy Hawk?

James: Is this the greeter?

Adam: he’s the greeter he’s from the greeters guild amazing yeah and this is what I was thinking you could do something like that people arrive to the office wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had someone welcoming you there James welcome back to the office you look great loving your newly sun-kissed uh tan the shoes are looking great you’re paying people compliments you’re making people feel really good about being back in the office you’re basically saying I see you you’re back you’re a human you’re here welcome that was one example sure in your own way maybe it’s something as simple as playing a certain music piece of music it could be I don’t know somebody doing just something different rather than the normal right right exactly I mean maybe the start or the close of a meeting like you said playing some music asking people to do something different yes yeah so also if you think in a meeting context meetings are pretty standardized maybe maybe there’s a way that you start your meeting with your team your your weekly or monthly meeting that actually has some value and meaning to you how would you finish a meeting would you use a ritual how would you say goodbye to people at the end of the day I’ve seen a concept where there’s a company and they have a wall you can call it a wall of appreciation or gratitude and during the day you’d simply write a little note write a little sticky note put it on this wall and before you leave the office you just go to the wall have a little read you know it’s going to fill you with Good Vibes you’re going to get a lot of love from that what a nice way to finish your working day.

James: Yeah absolutely I’m you know we write a lot about technology and its application in buildings and workplaces and I suppose there is a lot of focus on that on that but I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive I suppose some people think well actually you know kind of this stuff talking about moments talking about um you know these kind of more softer subjects right but you can use technology to create them can’t you I mean even like some workplace experience apps they have you know you can share content on there maybe it’s even a surprising moment is sharing some interesting content that’s different and surprising and you know maybe even like a voucher or something one free pass to uh to get to get something when you come in the office something like that sure I think mix it up use the technology you’ve got use the basics as well both work equally good.

Adam: yeah exactly but I think the reason why I’m thinking we do this is because we clearly know we’re missing the Human Side the relational side working from home we can incentivize people into the office what are the benefits well people are going to feel good people are going to feel more connected with each other well-being of people is going to be improved people’s feeling of belonging I think that’s very important in the workplace having this feeling of I belong here I want to come here I feel part of this company I feel part of this Mission I understand the core values and I think all of these defining moments help to achieve that they help people feel better feel more grounded more connected and these kind of benefits are only going to be beneficial for the way people work together and therefore your productivity and your efficiency I absolutely agree very good point I was thinking also about flipping this a little bit okay so we’ve talked about sort of the the um experience of you know in in work being in person but also you know we’ve spent a lot of time virtually right being in Virtual meetings being remote what is it we can take from those experiences right those uh those moments and bring into the the office as well yeah that’s a great question there’s something I’ve been thinking about actually because we’ve had this amazing experience now and I think there’s still a feeling that virtual meetings oh not another virtual meeting kind of thing but it’s actually been educational for us and we’ve we’ve learned a lot through this I would say the first thing to think about is kind of questions what’s the format of a meeting now how what would the format of a meeting look like being in an office maybe you don’t need a typical meeting room with table and chairs what about if we took that table away what about if we took the chairs away what about if we talked about more of a campfire setup where people were sitting around in a circle together I think this is the bigger question actually why do we why do we have meetings how are they going to look together in person but if I think of the technicalities of virtual meetings I found that virtual meetings have been very good in terms of being more inclusive right and what I mean by that is I find it’s easier to get participation from the whole group if I’m doing something online because we’ve got other ways and means of collecting information of collecting feedback of collecting perspectives and ideas you know we’re talking polls we’re talking chat we’re talking getting into breakout rooms so in a way I feel the virtual meeting has been a as level of the playing field you know all of a sudden everyone is just the same size Square on the screen yeah do you think it’s less intimidating than in that like because if people are face to face in person they might be uh don’t feel like they can ask a specific question in that moment they they’re they’re nervous about it yeah I I’d say my view is generally that’s the case that online meetings maybe feel less intimidating but I think each format has its own challenges and struggles you know some people have also said to me you know I find it really difficult speaking out on on a zoom call for example because it’s the queue isn’t there for you to come in you kind of have to take a bit more space and then someone says James let’s hear your perspective to kind of just initiate and be proactive it’s almost like you’re kind of breaking through everyone so you know it is one of the challenges online is obviously with the you know the non-verbal communication the body language I mean I think we’ve all been in that position where we’ve been holding a meeting a workshop whatever and you feel you’re not seeing anyone’s response okay you know it could just be a wall of Silence it could be crickets and I’ve noticed that actually to give non-verbal cues is so important whether that’s shaking your head you know whether that’s kind of giving some kind of gestures on screen to say I’m listening I’m following you I’m with you so that’s also something I think we can take into in person is to be more being more present and not just focusing on the verbal side of things the body language the non-verbal side of things and showing appreciation or understanding of someone.

James: Yeah absolutely they do talk about that being a massive part of communication isn’t it body language like 70 more of actually how we communicate in person?

Adam: Yeah I think the statistics show it’s a very this very high percentage and it it’s so true we’re there’s so many other Clues and cues that we can use in our in our in our body and yeah one thing that I’ve got into a lot recently is how to be a great presenter how to deliver a great pitch a great speech and so much of it is focused on body language on functional gesturing and these are things that we can apply both to online and being back in person yeah um but I can also say that one thing that I’ve been reflecting on as well something we’ve probably missed actually during this period of working from home is the commute.

James: I was going to ask you about that.

Adam: Yeah the commute is something that when you think about it a little a lot of people will probably say I’m so glad I’m not doing my commute anymore and it’s all relative right if you’re commuting in an hour a day an hour back it can be quite stressful and you can think thank goodness I can work from home and I can skip that period of time and it’s more time with loved ones and more time potentially working or whatever or or doing something good for yourself whatever but the commute is really useful in that it’s a transitionary period between home and work and work and home and I found that I’ve been speaking to some people about this that period of time has been really useful to kind of set expectations to plan to reflect and we’re not getting that when we’re working from home so my recommendation has been create your own kind of remote commute or even create a virtual commute and this is something I do in my my workshops and sessions that people who are joining I might give them two to three minutes to have their their virtual commute just this period of landing and tuning in and of establishing okay where are we now what’s the next meeting and also kind of from practically when you’re working from home give yourself your own commute whether that’s taking a walk each morning getting yourself to the gym it could also be just having some time to read or reflect it could be to write a poem create your own little daily practice that gives you that space and time before you get into your work.

James: I mean these your I mean these physical cues are really powerful aren’t they I mean we are creatures of habit right we we even though we perhaps we don’t think it like we we have these very specific um actions which create like a feeling in us um perhaps um you know chemically even you know they change the way we feel like even the way that we hold ourselves or um you know different poses we have right?

Adam: Oh yes all like have a actually have more of an impact than we think so absolutely creating those and before let’s say before a meeting or before you start work having these kind of rituals so it’s quite powerful isn’t it yeah I mean I’m just thinking now in terms of kind of public speaking and presenting one of the little tips and tricks you can learn is before you go on stage is to power pose so you’re standing with your arms out stretched as far as you can in this kind of palposed position do it for a minute or two and it really creates that effect it actually helps to build the testosterone in your body and you’re going to feel more energized going onto stage but it’s absolutely we can think of how we can do this throughout our days to put ourselves in a better position and improve our well-being one thing.

James: I wanted to ask as well I mean and this is really directly um related to your business right playfully yeah and play like it is something that is um you know quite is there’s like interesting subject and I mentioned before I think that it’s uh something which isn’t associated with work right we’re trying to tend to think um as a society you know work is like being professional right and we don’t associate play with being professional but you have a completely different take on it like I mean what’s your what do you what do you say?

Adam: I do and this is something I’ve completely experienced I mean play as a definition is doing something which doesn’t necessarily have an end objective or goal you’re kind of doing it for the fun of it you could say I think that is that’s true but I don’t see play and work being opposites they’re not mutually exclusive I think when we talk about play in the workplace I tend to use other words I might use creativity or imagination or discovery and all of these elements are absolutely needed in our workplace right I mean creativity most people need to be creative a lot of people think I can’t be creative but it everything is relative right of course so what I tend to do is I try to when I’m speaking to to companies look at your look at your day where could you potentially put in some some moments for play where where does that make sense okay you can develop your own playful practice at work there could be some key times after lunch FIKA break or whatever but there are some opportunities and he’s just carving out a little bit of time and you’ll see the benefits.

James: Yeah it’s such an interesting topic look Adam it’s been awesome having you come and talk to us and such a fascinating subject so I mean if they want to find out more about yourself or playfully where can they do?

Adam: You can find me on LinkedIn my name’s Adam Sismey you can look on my website they’re the two main channels that I’m operating on right now.

James: Good stuff look thanks again really appreciate you coming in thanks so much. Take care bye for now.

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