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Aitkin Excellence!

Ugly Chairs made Beautiful

People-Focus, Collaboration
A Tale of
Ugly Chairs made Beautiful
Contributed by

Kami Genz

Employee Spotlight

The Probation Office


Improved Internal Relationships, Improved Services

Ugly Chairs made Beautiful

The probation office faces the challenge of maintaining a healthy outlook amidst the relentless pressure of handling numerous cases. Recognizing the need for a supportive environment, they took a creative approach to promote collaboration, people-focus, and innovation within their team.

The probation department astutely purchased two affordable, yet somewhat unattractive, lazyboy chairs for just $60. These chairs were strategically placed in a cozy nook of their office, serving as a sanctuary for anyone in need of a break. What makes these chairs special is a unique feature that emits a subtle clicking noise when someone sits in them, signaling to their colleagues that assistance or an open ear is needed.

This simple but ingenious setup fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and cohesion among the team. Whenever the chairs click, coworkers roll their chairs over, ready to provide support, lend an empathetic ear, or help relieve any built-up stress. The environment created in this space is one where individuals can freely express their concerns and seek guidance without fear of judgment.

The impact of this initiative extends beyond mere camaraderie. By prioritizing the well-being and mental health of their team members, the probation office demonstrates their commitment to the people-focus value. They showed genuine care for one another, fostering an atmosphere of compassion and support.

Moreover, this "non-work" area gives employees an opportunity to step away from their tasks momentarily and recharge. In doing so, they are able to sustain a healthier outlook, resulting in improved performance and better care for their clients. This innovative space is also a hub for creative thinking, enabling the team to brainstorm new ideas, tackle challenges, and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
The positive impact of the ugly chairs extends beyond the internal workings of the probation office. As the team becomes stronger and more cohesive, they can better serve the citizens of their county. By fostering an environment where vulnerability and collaboration are valued, the team ensures that they are equipped to address the needs of their clients effectively. Ultimately, the integration of these chairs into the office space has not only enhanced employee well-being but also contributed to the overall effectiveness and performance of the local county government.

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