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Create More Connections By Taking Out The Trash

By September 9, 2019No Comments
J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network

Pulling from page 46 of Build Your Dream Network – flip open your copy, read along or highlight if you like:

Here’s a simple way for you to start reframing daily tasks into relationship-building opportunities: if you work in the same office, rather than continue a conversation with a colleague via e-mail or instant message or on speakerphone, walk down the hall to her or his office to have that chat. Chances are you’ll deepen the relationship and gain more information from the face-to-face encounter. 

In Build Your Dream Network I’ve primarily focused on what YOU can do to build your dream network. Now, what about if you’re an employer seeking to create more connections in the workplace? Removing individual trash-cans had the unintended benefit of creating community on a company wide level at Capital One.

Taking something away creating community? Say what! Here’s what happened.

The gathering of trash was centralized to support the company’s sustainability program (trash, recycling, shred, composting). Instead of tossing trash in bin by their desks, employees must get up to discard the item(s) – which you have to admit, reflects how most of us deal with tossing out items in our homes. Having to walk to a designated trash area creates movement, and movement creates collision points and collision points create so-called “water-cooler” moments to connect with colleagues you don’t see on a regular basis.

How can you create greater community at work – without a big effort (or budget)? A couple of ideas. Designate a conference room as a lunch room for one hour a day (if your office doesn’t have a designated lunch space) to get employees away from their desks (or to bring them together if everyone scatters at noon). Put up a notice board and invite employees to post upcoming community events they are involved in. Have a recipe/cooking contest (a law firm I know did this – a chili cooking contest to be precise – and the event was received with great enthusiasm). If you’re a manager – use the resources at hand so others will mirror your behavior (yes, brown bag it and eat lunch with your colleagues every once in a while).

Hear more in my Business Builders Show interview with Stefanie Spurlin, VP Workplace Solutions, Capital One.

Now in its third year, the Work Environment Survey is an initiative of Capital One’s workplace solutions team, undertaken to capture the thoughts and attitudes of employees (not Capital One employees who are not part of the survey population) toward workplace design and experience – and more importantly, how these elements (design, and work amenities) impact productivity, collaboration and employee well-being. My career thrives on collaboration, so I’m thrilled to partner once again with Capital One on sharing the results and key findings of this survey. Discover more of what today’s talent needs, wants and expects from the work environment here.

J. Kelly Hoey

J. Kelly Hoey is a problem solver who believes that most professional challenges—whether funding, landing a board position or getting a new job—are solved by tapping into networks.Kelly is a popular speaker on networking, community building and investing issues, especially as they relate to women, and has worked with the IEEE, PGA, Bank of America, Apple and countless others. Follow Kelly on Twitter @jkhoey and on Instagram @jkellyhoey and join the #BYDN community at