EDITORIAL

A nice place to work makes happy workers

Posted

In the 1999 comedy “Office Space,” the main protagonist Peter Gibbons struggles to exist in a bleak corporate landscape while working as a low-level programmer in a large, fictional tech corporation.

During a particularly memorable scene, Peter is called into speak with two corporate-hired “efficiency experts” who ask him how things operate in the office. Peter, stuck in a state of persistent positivity brought on by a mishap while undergoing hypnosis to relieve his stress, gives them a candid rundown to how the job has systematically crushed his work effort, smiling the whole time and sparing no detail.

“The thing is Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I just don’t care,” Peter says. “It’s a problem of motivation.”

Finding ways to motivate employees is one of those concepts that is the basis for entire conferences of mid and top level managers who seek the most efficient working staff to garner the best results for their business. Thousands of books have been written on the subject – and everyone has an opinion on whether it’s better to utilize incentives like stock options or commissions or threaten punishments to best motivate their troops.

Citizens Bank has clearly chosen their path, as evidenced by their new 420,000 square foot headquarters being constructed in Johnston, set to open in August – and for them it is as simple a strategy as giving their employees a facility and a space where they don’t dread coming to work.

As people who have had to endure a job where you are given no reprieve from harsh fluorescent lights, you aren’t allowed to leave for more than a few minutes and the best food options available to you are a vending machine or a fast food joint down the block will understand, liking the space in which you work is one of the most important conditions to fostering a good attitude about performing said work.

Citizens new facility is not quite Google-esque – there are no plans for video game lounges or specified nap rooms, and you won’t need a shuttle to get around the buildings in the facility – but it comes as close as any facility, perhaps in the state’s history, has come.

There will be places to play volleyball, basketball, tennis and bocce ball and many walking paths – all open to the public. Inside there will be spacious offices and lounges with a full kitchen, including a huge two-ton pizza oven. To put it simply, Citizens employees will not be embarrassed to take a potential client for a walk around the facility, or invite a friend over for lunch.

This type of care for employees does not come cheap – the headquarters will cost hundreds of millions when all is said and done – but it is the embodiment of a worthwhile investment. An upstart financially-minded professional may be wowed from the moment they step foot on the campus, improving the stock of young professionals who want to work for the bank, and its current employees will enjoy all the amenities even more when they hear friends and colleagues complaining about how the coffee machine broke again and corporate won’t spring for a new one.

The fact that Citizens chose to plant their new headquarters in Johnston and remain in Rhode Island in general is fantastic news for Johnston and the state alike, and all prospective and current employees are fortunate the people in charge of the decision understood the value of showing their employees that they care about the space they work in.

If that will translate into better efficiency down the line, who can say at this point? Perhaps one day someone will write a book about it.

Comments

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richardcorrente

When Citizens announced that they were taking 700+ employees from their Jefferson Blvd. location and relocating them to Johnston I called the relocation people at Citizens to ask what Warwick did to attempt to keep them here. Knowing that the loss of 700 employees would have a huge detrimental effect on businesses in the area (like The Sandwich Junction around the corner), I wanted to compare what Mayor Avedisian did to what I would have done as Mayor. The nice woman I spoke to said that "no one returned my calls".

For the record, if it was me I would have done more. A lot more! I would have called, visited, influenced, negotiated, offered, incentivized, renegotiated, etc. In short, I would have done everything in my power to keep them here. 700 employees! That is such a large number of people, with such a large effect on our businesses. Our loss. Johnston's gain.

Sorry to see them go.

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

5 days ago
CrickeeRaven

Since so many of his prior claims have already been thoroughly disproven, readers should view the fake "mayor's" statements about imaginary conversations with anonymous Citizens employees with a high degree of skepticism. Citizens Bank is consolidating numerous locations into its new campus, and was intent on relocating its business to a better location -- no matter what the fake "mayor" claims, he was not going to change that.

It is a sign of his delusional mind that he believes he could have forced Citizens to reconsider its plans.

Honest, taxpaying voters will not be sorry to see the fake "mayor" go after defeating him again in 265 days.

5 days ago
Justanidiot

wes kneed to reneotiate da contract

brings citizens back here

5 days ago
CrickeeRaven

Also, Sandwich Junction is closing because the building has been sold -- not because of the Citizens relocation: http://warwickonline.com/stories/sandwich-junction-coming-to-close-after-41-years,131647?

The fake "mayor" once again proves his total inability and refusal to restrain himself from making easily-disproven, delusional statements.

It is a certainty that he will continue to humiliate himself in his future comments.

5 days ago
Justanidiot

master mayer is an communist, he does knot likes how capitolism werks

vote commie in 2018

4 days ago
Kammy

IGT (Formerly Gtech) has a large complex located right off Route 95 in West Greenwich. They have a gym that has a trainer on staff, a cafeteria that has a large salad bar, fresh hot and cold food options, free soda, coffee and other snacks available. They also have a volley ball net and large area where many workers walk outside daily. All great extras that appeal to an employee. However lovely and great such amenities are they still can't make up for a poorly run business, managers that lack skills to supervise and motivate the workforce and a parent company that seems deaf to the reality of the marketplace. Hopefully Citizens won't fall into complacency once the newness wears off.

Good luck and enjoy your new office!

3 days ago
Kammy

IGT (Formerly Gtech) has a large complex located right off Route 95 in West Greenwich. They have a gym that has a trainer on staff, a cafeteria that has a large salad bar, fresh hot and cold food options, free soda, coffee and other snacks available. They also have a volley ball net and large area where many workers walk outside daily. All great extras that appeal to an employee. However lovely and great such amenities are they still can't make up for a poorly run business, managers that lack skills to supervise and motivate the workforce and a parent company that seems deaf to the reality of the marketplace. Hopefully Citizens won't fall into complacency once the newness wears off.

Good luck and enjoy your new office!

3 days ago
Kammy

Richard, name names and dates of calls or it never happened. You nor I have no idea what the Mayor did or didn't do. It is very easy to say what you WOULD DO but until you are in a position to do something in real life you are just telling a tale. Since you are not willing or able to give specifics about conversations I feel compelled to start investigating on my own. People make up things all the time to provide unsubstantiated support to their arguments. I always view those types of comments as being very shady. If you asked a question and someone answered it then wouldn't it make more sense to provide proof? Wouldn't that provide you with even more leverage when speaking about issues? You keep it vague on purpose. Very fishy.

3 days ago