I work as the Director of a daycare and absolutely love my job. Truly. I started thinking of so many fun elements incorporated into a child’s day and that lead to the thought: What if our corporate world was a little more like our child’s daycare?
Here are a few things I wouldn’t mind:
1. You dress for comfort.
Have you ever looked at your child’s super soft, footed onesie and thought, I wish that was my outfit for the day? What if it wasn’t frowned upon to show up to work in something so soft and relaxed instead of your dress pants and heels? Maybe your comfy couture wouldn’t have trains on the front of it, like your 3 month old son’s onesie, but these cats are pretty cute! I always get cold in my office and this would definitely keep me from grabbing a jacket every day and running my small portable heater. And I’m sure I could get so much done because comfort and efficiency go hand in hand in my world.
2. Playing outside is mandatory.
Imagine if, twice a day, you took a 15 minute break where you had to go outside and do something you enjoy. Outside play has many recognized benefits for children, including reduced stress, increase in attention span, and providing Vitamin D. If it’s good for children, it’s likely good for adults, too. I’m just sayin’. In this fall weather, a quick walk outside would refresh me so much in the middle of the day. Knowing it was on my agenda would give me something to look forward to as I’m in the trenches of a project. I’m positive I would be much more productive and focused after a quick break outside.
3. Naptime is required.
Can I get an Amen? Why did we try so hard as kids to NOT take a nap? That is mama gold now, on the rare occasion it happens! A quick google search can lead you to a study from Spanish scientists that confirmed that a short sleep after lunch can reduce stress, help cardiovascular functions, and improve alertness and memory. Call it a siesta, call it a nap, call it whatever you want. I’m sold. 4. Twice a day, everyone stops for snack time.
Umm…yeah. I’m totally “in” for this trend. Whether it’s goldfish crackers and apple slices or almonds and cheese, healthy snacking actually helps regulate mood and boosts brain power. It takes the edge off. It helps provide additional nutrients to your day. And…it’s yummy. Plus, after that boost to your brain, you’re functioning at a higher level than you were, pre-snack. Win – Win!
5. You get rewarded for All The Things.
Positive reinforcement is used regularly in the daycare environment and helps children feel good about their choices. What if that were true at your job? My bet is that motivation and performance would increase. Workers who feel appreciated and encouraged would probably be happy in their role, leading to longevity and an overall supportive work environment. Maybe positive reinforcement in the workplace wouldn’t quite look like the reward chart below, but it would be kind of amazing if it did!
6. At the end of the day, you resolve conflicts by hugging it out.
You’ve seen it in your kids: one minute they are pushing each other around pretty aggressively and the next, they are hugging and sharing toys. It’s as if the previous MMA-type scene did not occur at all in your living room, they were never mad at each other, and now they are best buds for life. That’s some quick and effective conflict resolution. So, what if corporate America adopted this philosophy, too? Someone made a rude comment about your presentation? You can’t leave work until you hug it out! The world might just be a better place if us adults did more hugging.
Isn’t it interesting that the science behind these daycare practices leads to increased productivity and learning? The corporate world could maybe learn a thing or two from child care practices.