Originating from the working style of employees at Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, the Fish! Philosophy is a technique used in businesses across the country to promote happy employees who are active and engaged in their daily work activities. We’ve been implementing the Fish! Philosophy in various ways at the National Business Furniture offices for years, so today we’d like to share a few of the ways that we utilize the philosophy’s four core ideas in the way we work.


Be There

The first core value of the Fish! Philosophy is to be emotionally present for your coworkers. Displaying respect and understanding for the people around you not only improves communication between employees, but also strengthens the overall relationships being formed within the business. At the NBF offices, employees are encouraged to communicate and collaborate whenever the need arises. To facilitate this, team members work in close quarters with one another, with just the right combination of privacy and open door policy to allow everyone to feel comfortable doing their work independently while still being able to get up and ask questions of their neighbor. We’ve also provided touchdown meeting spaces throughout the office to facilitate on-the-fly meetings when new ideas begin to take form. Facilitating this level of collaboration lets employees know that we want them to help each other and keep the lines of communication wide open at all times.


Play at Work

The best way to facilitate creativity at the office is by allowing employees to find meaning in what they do. Because no one is inspired by sitting glued to a desk chair all day long, we encourage a little fun with our office fish pond. While it’s not an actual pond, the area that we refer to as our fish pond is a storage island in our customer service department that is filled with treats and other small items. Throughout the week, NBF employees can nominate their coworkers who they have witnessed going above and beyond the call of duty in their work. Then, every Friday, an email is sent out to the company announcing every employee who was nominated for the fish pond that week. Every employee who is nominated can go to the fish pond to pick out a treat or small prize, while three winners are selected each week via a random drawing to win gift cards to local stores and restaurants. It’s a fun way to keep everyone engaged in what they do while also giving credit where credit is due by recognizing the employees who go above and beyond to help a coworker and be the best they can be.


Make Someone’s Day

Making someone’s day is easier than you might think. Whether it’s helping someone on your team with a difficult project or holding the door open for someone else on their way into the building, there are endless ways to make someone’s day a little better. At NBF, we not only use our weekly fish pond as a way of rewarding employees who go out of their way to help others, but we also use Making My Day Dollars as an additional show of employee appreciation. At the beginning of each year, every employee is given eight blank Making My Day Dollars. Throughout the year, they may choose to give a dollar to an employee who makes their day at the office. The employee receiving the Making My Day Dollar may then exchange the dollar for one denim day, being that our office has a corporate casual dress code Monday through Thursdays.


Choose Your Attitude

The fourth and final practice of the Fish! Philosophy is to take responsibility for one’s own attitude. It’s important to remember that it isn’t the challenges work throws at you that defines who you are as an employee, but rather the attitude you take in overcoming those challenges. Remember to ask yourself as an employee, “Is my attitude helping my customers and coworkers?” If not, it may be time for an attitude adjustment.


Does your business or school implement the Fish! Philosophy? Share your thoughts in the comments below and check out this video of Team NBF participating in Fish Bowl Friday!


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