The Monday after Labor Day is a little known holiday called National Boss/Employee Exchange Day. On this day employees and bosses can see how the other half spends their working hours; whether it be tackling the piles of paperwork or dealing with that awkward customer. National Boss/Employee Exchange Day is more than just fun, it’s a great way to exchange ideas as well. Seeing the other side of the business and how it works is a great way to educate team members on how much time and effort goes into both jobs.
Even if a manager was once in the trenches, chances are a few things have changed since then, so it’ll be helpful to go back and touch base. By living a day in the life of a customer service representative, social media manager, line cook or whatever other role they decide to take on managers will truly be able to see and understand the challenges employees face. There’s a lot to be gained from seeing first hand how line-level responsibilities are affecting productivity.
Switching for the day can be beneficial to both sides. An undertaking of this nature can really help employees and bosses understand the duties, responsibilities and challenges that each have to deal with on a daily basis. By swapping for the day it might reveal processes that are causing problems for workers further upstream in the process or vice versa. Bosses will be able to see first hand how procedures they implemented are slowing down production and employees may be able to contribute ideas on how to help reduce the pile of paperwork on the boss’s desk.
Swapping for the day may be easy to pull off with a team of 5 or 10 or even 20, but what if you’re a company of 50. It may not be practical to switch roles, so consider using this holiday as a way of exchanging ideas. Set up a town hall or round table type meeting in the morning or during lunch; be sure to bring food as ideas flow much better when there’s food involved. Ask employees to talk about some of the challenges they’re facing, what responsibilities are taking up a large portion of their day or what improvements they can suggest to make the work flow smoother. Share some of the challenges that come with being a manager, the kinds of tasks that take up your day and process you’d like to improve upon. You never know, someone may be an expert in content blogging or have a cousin that would be perfect for a sales role. Be sure to finish up the meeting with some Q&A time, allowing employees to voice any concerns they may have or maybe just ask about the companies next holiday party.
Having this renewed outlook on both sides can be a source of some great productivity ideas that can benefit everyone. Now the only question is, how will you pick who gets to be boss for a day.