Friday, February 1, 2013

Casual Friday: Fun Modes of Transportation at Work

Google has slides in their offices!  Cowabunga!
Do you have a slide in your office?  How about a fireman’s pole?  Maybe you have a rollercoaster between cubicles?  Welcome to another installment of "Casual Friday," my humorous look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business.  Today I want to talk about fun modes of transportation at work. Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on any of the amusing modes of transportation in your own workplaces.

Fun Modes of Transportation at Work

What are you doing to engage your employees and excite visitors?  Do you have a slide in your work?  One unique office in the UK has a twisty one that zips workers from the third floor of their building to the ground floor in only 7 seconds.  The slide, built into the Electric Works building in 2009, features 87 feet of steel and plastic.  According to the designer, Toby Hyam, “'We know that it will be a novelty at first, and we don't know whether it will wear off, but if you are having a meeting with a client and people are whizzing past, it will be memorable.”

Management does not need to offer your employees giant slides, Ferris Wheels, or pneumatic tubes to get around - but if you can offer your workers something to make their experience unique - why wouldn’t you?  Understandably, there would need to be necessary risk management, but a fun mode of transportation could be a great perk to offer your employees; draw in the most creative talent.  You can think of it as a fabulous recruiting tool!  Consider that many of Google’s offices feature slides within the building, and they are known for the high caliber of their talent.

Keep it Safe

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does have something to say about these alternative modes of transportation.  For example, OSHA has made the opinion that “Where operations necessitate regular travel between levels a safe means of access must be provided. You should be aware that OSHA does not view fire poles as an approved means of access from one floor level to another.”  While I am sure that this extends to other modes of transport, such as slides, I am researching to find any specific regulations that would cover it.  The one that would clearly seem to come into play is OSHA’s General Duty Clause, which states, “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”  So in other words, keep it safe.  Post warning signs around the fun mode of transportation to help minimize your liability.

How Far Can You Go?

So long as you keep it safe and legal, the sky’s the limit when it comes to finding ways to engage your employees in adding fun modes of transportation.  The folks over in the Scribd offices set up an indoor zipline.  What are you doing reading this?  Go do something fun!

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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