I’m a home-brewer and Certified Cicerone®, so when I first started at GFM I hosted a beer and cheese pairing to help break the ice between with my new co-workers. Everyone enjoyed it so much that I began hosting weekly beer tastings that highlighted different beer styles. It has been almost four years since our very first Beer Club, and we’re still having fun with it, as evidenced by our Outside Magazine write-up for this year’s “100 Best Places to Work.” Beer Club has morphed into a time where we all can take a breather and just enjoy each other’s company. It’s also a time for us to socialize with clients away from the usual confines of a business meeting. Everyone is invited to Beer Club, so the next time you are free at 3:30pm on a Thursday, stop by the office and join us. Read more after the jump…
It may seem like social media is now completely engrained in our personal and work lives but the reality is the communication method is still very new. Many companies, especially those with large, complex organizations, are still trying to figure out when, how and if their employees should be using social during work. However, some have realized the power of turning employees into megaphones for the brands and are reaping the benefits.
We’re honored and proud that our sister agency, GroundFloor Media, ranked second among a whopping 36 Colorado companies to be named to Outside Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work list. Congrats to all of the great companies who made the list!
Last week marked the fourth straight year that GroundFloor Media/CenterTable has sponsored The Wright – a Shark Tank–esque event focusing on Colorado companies who work in the outdoor/lifestyle industries, and love to give back to their respective communities. Companies are nominated, finalists are required to produce a short video about their business, a panel of judges narrows the list to three finalists at a live event and then questions those companies before selecting the winning contestant.
Some of these companies are big, some are small, some are new and some are more established. The common theme is that they’re all amazing Colorado-based companies who have great entrepreneurial spirit. It’s truly one of my favorite events each year – and one where everyone can learn a thing or two from the contestants. Here are a couple of things we took away from, or were reminded during the 2016 Wright: Read more after the jump…
Some of the newer folks at GroundFloor Media (GFM) recently took the Emergenetics assessment to learn about our thinking and behavioral preferences. Based on answers to a set of specific questions, Emergenetics evaluated our thinking preferences (structural, analytical, conceptual and social) and our behavioral preferences (expressiveness, assertiveness and flexibility).
It was absolutely no surprise to me that the majority of my thinking preference falls under the structural category (I’ve never met a list I don’t like). According to Emergenetics, this means that I am a “practical thinker that likes guidelines, is cautious of new ideas, is predictable and learns by doing.” No surprise to me, my least favorite thinking preference falls under the conceptual way of thinking. This means that my comfort zone does not lie in being “imaginative, intuitive about ideas, visionary, or learning by experimenting.”
At GFM we often say that we practice and encourage a work/life blend, rather than balance. In today’s plugged in and always on world of business, parenting and relationships, trying to achieve balance will almost always result in disappointment. Sometimes work trumps a personal commitment while other times personal plans or to-dos outweigh non-urgent deadlines. That is reality.
Personally, I take a lot of pride in the blend that I’ve created and prioritize each week. Most days I am up before the sun, my family and most coworkers and clients, for a workout. This creates space for completely unplugged me time without sacrificing work or family. From there I am able to be a part of my toddler’s morning routine before his day at daycare. I then aim to be in the office by 8:30 a.m. at the latest in order to dive into the day, choosing to eat lunch at my desk, unless I have a professional engagement, so that I do not have too much guilt about having to leave the office by 5:15 p.m. for daycare pickup.
None of this would be possible without a strong network at home, and an even stronger base of support – starting with leadership – about the “blend” being critical to our overall success as an agency.
GFM has a generous four-week sabbatical policy after 10 years of employment and our president Ramonna Robinson recently returned from an enriching, disconnected leave with stops for a yoga retreat in Croatia and relaxation in Italy. Following her return she wrote a fantastic blog post about her “a ha” moments. But even more valuable have been the work/life blend professional development articles she has made the time to share internally. Each of these articles validate and in a way, provides permission for us to hold each other accountable in critical ways—work product, responsibility, health and wellness and much more.
This week Ramonna re-circulated a powerful 2010 Business Insider piece from The Energy Coach about the importance of disconnecting in order to be more valuable at work and at home when you do reconnect. The week before she praised the GFM team members who schedule walking meetings or shout out around the office throughout the day for quick walking breaks around the block—based on a New York Times article about the dangers of long, uninterrupted periods of physical lethargy.
Summer is a great time to take a step back as an organization, family and individual to evaluate your blend. Are you unplugging on vacation or like Carol in The Energy Project story, addicted to checking in on emails because of its emotional pull about being important and needed? Unfortunately, I am guilty as charged in this respect.
Are you enjoying the extra hours of sunlight with a dog walk or backyard gardening? Or are you trained to get back online as soon as the dinner dishes are done?
Are you giving your team permission to disconnect by modeling the behavior yourself, or creating a cycle of 24/7 communication that no one is brave enough to break?
How is your blend?
I’ve just had the opportunity to take advantage of GFM’s generous sabbatical policy… After 10 years, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”
I did so by participating in a yoga retreat in Croatia with six Brits and a Norwegian I’d never met before, taking a two-week vacation in Croatia and Italy with my boyfriend, and then spending a week re-acclimating and getting organized at home in Denver. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and as I sat at lunch savoring my last few days off, I jotted down some of the lessons I learned that may prove helpful should you ever find yourself in the position of enjoying a month off.
1. Modifying isn’t cheating
As a former gymnast (AKA perfectionist) I feel the need to be able to bend forward and touch the ground with hands flat and legs straight when I’m practicing yoga. Thanks to a hamstring issue, I’m not currently able to, which has been driving me crazy. On this yoga retreat, our instructor encouraged me to bend my knees deeply in forward bend. Doing so not only enabled me to put my hands flat on the ground without pain, it also produced an amazing stretch that felt great. My preconceived notions of what “success” looked like in that pose and the expectations known only to me (no one else was watching to make sure I kept my legs straight) had been holding me back from true success.
Listed as Outside Magazine’s best place to work in 2015, you might assume that GFM team members spend a lot of the workday, well, outdoors. While we do love to spend time outside enjoying all our great state of Colorado has to offer, the typical workday inside the GFM office looks just about like any other – sitting at our desks, often with bad posture and a disregard for ergonomics.
Benefits of movement
Recently, we invited Dr. Kati Schwabe from Schwabe Chiropractic to speak to our team about the health hazards of sitting too much and – our larger offense – sitting incorrectly at our desks throughout the day. Here are some of the top takeaways: Read more after the jump…
There are a lot of tips and best practices for increasing workplace productivity. It is something no business, of any size, can ignore. Throughout my 20+-year career in communications, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. As an agency partner, I have also played in house communications counsel roles and gained an insider’s view of different management styles and their impacts on workplace productivity. For me, the biggest takeaway from being in house is when leadership begins to focus on individual success rather than collaboration to hit their organizational goals the team suffers and productivity ceases.
At GFM we pride ourselves on being storytellers. Whether we’re drafting messaging, cooking up some social content, or even managing the frontline of a crisis – at the end of the day it’s all about telling a story.
Ask one of these GFM storytellers what stories have resonated with them recently, and you’re bound to get a variety of answers. From short stories to historical novels and everything in between, one thing is clear: GFMers love a good story.
And while we don’t all have time for long novels (just ask the new parents who could recite classics like Where The Wild Things Are or new favorites like Go the F**k to Sleep! thanks to reading them to little ones over and over again…), the only thing we love more than reading is sharing our favorite titles with friends.
Here’s a list of some of the recent titles we’ve devoured, compiled by GFM team members for your reading pleasure! Read more after the jump…
Ramonna and I are flying back from Austin having just presented a session we called “Coding Culture: Programming a Best Place to Work” at SXSWi. As most of you know, we are passionate about promoting the concept of creating unique and bold corporate cultures that keep team members smiling (and not walking out the door), providing deliriously strong customer service and driving profitability to the bottom line. While we can’t share all of the war stories we were able to share with our session attendees, we wanted to share the top 15 tips we created in the spirit of spreading the concept of building a great workplace culture at SXSWi 2015.