COM0011, Blog #2 How to Create a Happy Place in… Your Kitchen!

Everyone has a place where they feel most comfortable – their happy place. The kitchen is mine. In my home the kitchen is my domain (well, so is the laundry room, but that’s another story). I can be comfortable in just about any kitchen, but I love my kitchen.

kitchen pic

You could say, it’s multi-tasking functions make it the hub of our home. It’s not uncommon for our kitchen (like many kitchens) to serve as a place for eating, playing games, paying bills, doing homework, talking on the phone, consoling, and of course cooking. As such, it is certainly the most difficult room to keep clean, and clutter-free.

For me, taking control of this is definitely worth the effort. An organized kitchen truly can help bring calm to an otherwise chaotic environment. And when this is achieved, get ready to let your creative cooking juices flow. Here are some tips to help bring peace and tranquility to your kitchen.

First of all, determine where in your kitchen your “sweet spot” is. It’s different for every kitchen, and for every person. You may have a big kitchen with lots of counter space or you may not, but this is the one place you always go to get your jobs done. My favourite perching place allows me to have views of the table, the landscape out my window, and the fireplace in my living room.

This is the most important place to keep clean and clutter-free. Start by putting away all of those unneeded appliances that are cluttering your counters; the coffee maker, slow cooker, cookware, can opener, toaster, and cooking tools. These appliances can be tucked away so they are easy to pull out when you need them, but they are cluttering your counter-tops and zapping the energy out of you!

Kitchen-Command-CenterNext, create a Family Command Centre.  This is the area where all your “stuff” can go. And by “stuff” I mean the mail, kid’s school work, library books, movies to return, receipts, and the other multitude of items that are necessities but nuisances. There’s no point in trying to eliminate this stuff all together – it’s part of life. Just give it a place so it’s not so overwhelming. Plus, it will already be tucked away in case unexpected guests show up!  If given the opportunity these things will take over your kitchen, and I can guarantee you won’t want to be in there using your kitchen for what it’s made for.

disfectNext, clean and disinfect your counter! Simple. Done. Keep it that way! While you’re at it, don’t forget to clean the sink, faucet, refrigerator handles, and doorknobs. Keep your cleaner spray bottle on the counter to remind yourself to do it frequently. This is one thing that is always on my counter. Try to remember to clean your dishrags frequently too (in the washing machine and dryer on high heat) – bacteria loves this moist place to live and prosper! Don’t let it!

For me, once my “perch” and surrounding areas are clutter-free and sparkling clean, I feel like I can really breathe in my kitchen. It’s a peaceful place, and I can do anything in it. This is how I love it, and where I love to be.

Try it. Take back your kitchen. If using your kitchen for what it was really made for is still not your thing, try to keep it this way anyway. Maybe you will get inspired, and your inner-chef will emerge!

How about you? Where is your Happy Place? And what do you do to create and maintain it?

Why it’s worth keeping employees happy, COM0011 post #3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx7fYv2cAy4

http://www.nicmarks.org/

At the last three places I’ve worked, I can’t say employees were generally happy. I was always thinking about the wasted productivity, the lack of moral, the seemingly “could care less” attitude of those higher up, and how they couldn’t see that it was hurting business. Well it turns out that I wasn’t far off the mark. Investing in the happiness of workers ends up benefiting a company or organization in several ways.

stockimages-smiling-business-womanStockimages.com, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

In a TEDxWarwick 2014 talk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx7fYv2cAy4 ), well-being researcher Nic Marks points to a Gallop pole that shows only 13% of people are working with passion and engagement. Some truly dislike their jobs, but most are just putting in their time. This didn’t surprise me based on my own experience. But we often hear that human capital is one of the most important asset a company has. So why is employee happiness being ignored?

Perhaps the majority of companies and organizations need to watch this lecture. Marks highlights another poll that in companies that did invest proactively in their employee’s happiness found a 37% lower absentee rate, 47% less turnover, 48% fewer accidents and 21% higher productivity. Sounds pretty convincing.

An interesting point he raises is an equity analyst quoted in BusinessWeek saying that a certain company (Costco) was “… focused on employees to the detriment of the shareholders.” It turns out, however, that investing in employee happiness can nearly double your return on investment.

He gives another example of the online shoe sales startup Zappos.com, which grew to a multi-million dollar business in 12 years largely because it bases its business model on the idea that happy employees make for happy customers.

With these things in mind, it’s hard to imagine how so many employees are missing what could be a win-win for all. I’d love to hear your experiences and ideas.