My brother, Barry, passed away recently. A world famous architect, he is credited with the design of over 600,000 homes worldwide. He had been named one of the world’s top 100 architects by Architectural Digest, and one of the ten most significant figures of the 20th century by Residential Architect. He was quite a role model as a big brother, five years my senior. Several years ago, I wrote the following insight about his ability to create a work environment that was full of joy, so much so that it seemed more like play than work. There were only a few thousand readers then, and there are more than 25,000 of you now. With your permission, here is that post again – as relevant today as it was then, and far more poignant. Here’s to my brother, and to joy in the work place…
Have you ever noticed how slow time passes when you are in a troubled environment? Conversely, sometimes you look up at the end of a great day and wonder where the time went. Over the years, I have discovered that the difference is not just applicable to the good times, but to the environment, created by the senior executives, that filters throughout the organization. Every time, a corporate work culture encouraging humor causes employees to enjoy their work, spend more time with associates, and laugh many more times through the day.
At one point in our mutual careers, my brother located his growing architectural practice just a mile from my record company in West Hollywood, California. I would visit his office and immediately notice an atmosphere of “joyous creativity” throughout the organization. Every cubicle was decorated with whimsical drawings, posters, kid’s creativity, and more. As I walked through the facility, I could hear laughter emanating from cubicles, almost constant as a background song of simple joy at work.
[Email readers, continue here...] Those visits were wonderful times to recharge my batteries, and I was not even a part of the company. Imagine how they affected the attitude and creativity of those working there. Think of how clients loved to associate with their counterparts in such an environment.
Try as I could to reproduce such an environment, my company was too spread out, the background noises of manufacturing too loud to make the same environment possible. The best I could do was touch individuals and small groups with that same joy of the journey, adding humorous opportunities for lightening up as often as possible.
But after all these years, I will never forget the magic of that architectural office, and how much everyone there wanted not to let it ever slip away.
Take every opportunity to lighten up, to ease the often-self-imposed pressures of constant work, to unlock more of the creativity of your workforce through the use of appropriate humor. What a lift that brings.