Last week, I was in a local bakery, a franchisee for Great Harvest Bakery Company. They are known for giving out fresh slices of warm bread and making available butter for slathering on. It’s a great way to make a sale. I go in there after I’ve gone to the ski rental place next door, thinking about a free slice of bread. And I walk out with soft rolls and heavenly loaves of bread.
What struck me last week was the smell. It embraces me as soon as I open the door, the equivalent of a cashmere sweater around my shoulders. I remarked to the guy at the counter how wonderful the bread smelled. He replied, “Yeah, it’s great when I come into work everyday, the smell of the bread.”
Which got me thinking. What would it be like to be in a workplace where all of our senses come alive—not just our gray matter? It’s why people put colorful screensavers on their PCs, to create an oasis in a sea of black type on white background (just as it is as I’m writing this posting.) It’s why I used to bring flowers into meetings and put them in the break rooms when I was an employee. It’s why people listen to iPods at their desk (a few years ago, people listened to music on their PC but I’m sure by now, it’s all iPods.)
While I’m on a tear about bringing the human spirit into the workplace, here’s another way to do it. Create work environments that remind all of us that we are human beings with keen senses, not automatons from a sci-fi thriller.