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 we’d like to share a few ways we implement the philosophy’s 4 core ideas in the way we work.
Being emotionally present for your coworkers is the first core value of the Fish! Philosophy. Displaying respect and understanding for the people around you not only improves communication between employees but also strengthens relationships within the business.
At the NBF offices, employees are encouraged to communicate and collaborate whenever necessary. To facilitate this, team members work in close quarters with one another, with just the right combination of privacy and an open-door policy to allow everyone to feel comfortable doing their work independently while still being able to ask questions of their neighbors.
We’ve also provided touchdown meeting spaces throughout the office to facilitate on-the-fly meetings when new ideas take form. Facilitating this level of collaboration lets employees know that we want them to help each other and keep the lines of communication 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, 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 coworkers they’ve witnessed going above and beyond the call of duty in their work. Then, every Friday, an email is sent to the company announcing the employees nominated for the fish pond that week. Nominated employees can pick out a treat or small prize from the fish pond, and 3 weekly winners are selected 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 help their coworkers and perform their best.
Make Someone’s Day
Making someone’s day is easier than you might think. Whether it’s helping someone on your team brainstorm about 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. Every employee receives 8 blank Making My Day Dollars at the beginning of each year. 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 exchange the dollar for one Denim Day, since our office has a corporate casual dress code Monday through Thursday.
Choose Your Attitude
The final practice of the Fish! Philosophy is to take responsibility for your attitude. It isn’t the challenges work throws at you that define who you are as an employee but the attitude you take in overcoming those challenges. Remember to ask yourself, “Is my attitude helping my customers and coworkers?” If not, it may be time for an attitude adjustment.