We have all seen it: the portrayal of the stereotypical American corporate office. For years, Hollywood has taken the most common stereotypes of everyday life in the cubicle to create movies and sitcoms. The American hit comedy “The Office”, centered on the office environment of a Pennsylvania paper company, lasted a staggering nine seasons with 200 episodes. According to the Internet Movie Database, the show has won 28 awards out of an astonishing 132 nominations ranging from a Primetime Emmy to numerous Screen Actors Guild Awards. Why does our society love to play on the office stereotype so much? The biggest reason is that most people face some reflection of these stereotypes everyday in their own work life.
In my first seven weeks, I’ve been able to get behind the scenes to see what office life here is really like. While online agencies these days are creating their own stereotypes with bean bag chairs, kegs, and even how much attention they pay to their website, at our offices it’s a true gem of the sporting world that is truly shaping our culture in more ways than one would expect.
I speak of the place where a positive culture is fostered by friendly competition and the release of workday stress. Where co-workers can quickly become friends and share stories or inside jokes. What could be called our oasis of the office, our very own corporate “water cooler”, aka our foosball table.
The corporate water cooler is known to be the hangout of the office, the place where employees get away from their desk to joke and talk with one another. Some companies have viewed this office staple as a negative gossip hub while some have gone as far as calling it “the window to the corporate soul”. We have a healthy addiction to our “water cooler”, designating what we call “Foos Time” as an opportunity when everyone escapes from their screens for some friendly foosball face-offs.
Yes, it is tons of fun and highly competitive but it is so much more than that. Harvard Business Review identified seven performance attributes that are common among the best performing companies. While I believe our company culture and the work we do for our clients reflect all seven attributes, at least three of these stand out and grow stronger every time we gather around the table.
What is your style of play? Jack is known as “quick wrist” from his lightning-fast offensive shots and Allison has a wicked defensive “Watts swat” that is unstoppable. I personally tend to use some finesse and Kirk likes to use mass confusion with wild and unruly shots. Every player has come up with an original technique and is challenged to adapt those techniques based on their current opposition.
Foosball is a team sport where your partner can make the difference between joining the Ten Win Club and having a series of self-scores. Two players are on each side; one is in charge of the offensive line and one is in charge of the defensive line. It is a constant rotation where you end up having to work with a new partner, with his or her own playing style, every time you enter the game.
3. Oriented Towards Winning
You may never have met a team of individuals more focused on getting a little plastic ball into a goal. We each want to join the Ten Win Club and we want it bad.
So next time you come into the office, hang around the “water cooler” with us for a while. You may learn more about our team than just how fierce we are at foosball.