The challenge of the functioning stapler

Wandering around my office last week looking for a functioning stapler I remembered the question from the Gallup Q 12 Survey. 'I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right'. At the same time I was on my stapler quest I noticed that there was a curious feature related to monitor risers. Because we have fixed risers people have made their own adjustments using a variety of 'risers'. Five examples I noted were: a Fox's biscuit tin, 2 volumes of tax manuals, 3 hard-backed novels (stacked neatly with spines facing front), an A4 file-box, and two reams of paper.

Forgetting the stapler for a moment I recalled the Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen article 'Fat is a Typological Issue' that suggests that certain MBTI types are better with certain types of diet. E.g. 'For the NF the motivation to diet is relational. They lose for love.' Fleetingly I thought I might be able to guess the MBTI profile of people by their choice of monitor riser. However, that was a side-track or a 'time monster' as Jennifer Louden has it but is it more of a time monster than looking for a working stapler, or getting your monitor to the right height?

Back to the Gallup question about materials and equipment to do the job right, I'm not sure whether it relates to things like staplers, pens, and paper clips or whether it relates to higher order things like good user friendly software: a must have for Millennials apparently as 'Businesses should be careful not to throw clunky, alienating devices or websites at these [Millennial] customers and expect patience or understanding as customers struggle to find a workaround.'

Even non-Millennials in organisations I have worked in have been known to express a meek desire for user friendly software, access to business websites that are blocked by security policies, single sign-on, and to the other technologies that they use in their daily non-work life. And when their meekness is over-ruled by a desire just to be able to do the job, they bring their own device and do work arounds using these, thus (possibly) compromising security and taking other risks.

Having the materials and equipment needed to do work right is a powerful motivator and engagement tool. When I got my first job out of the public sector into the private sector I found it an unbelievable luxury to be able to walk to the photocopier and find it stacked with paper and be able to take the number of copies I wanted without having to pay for either the paper or the copying myself. I know my productivity and motivation rose.

Not having the tools is a colossal time waster (and thus productivity loss) and a de-motivator. Does anyone know of any research or quantitative analysis done on time/money/productivity loss on not having the tools and materials to do the job right? I think it would reveal that investing in good equipment pays off.

Do you think that highlighting access (or not) to the tools to do the work is part of organisation design activity? Let me know.

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