At the heart of slow living is choosing to make time for yourself, and also making time for the people around you. Real, quality time that isn't rushed. Needless to say, a workplace is not always the most conducive environment for these sorts of interactions, and with good reason. You're there to work.
But what if we looked at the workplace a little differently? What if we all decided you don't just go to work to work, and we took into account that you also do a lot of plain, old living at the workplace, too? The past few weeks at The Tartan Blanket Co. have involved a lot of sitting around a big table with endless cups of tea talking about what we want for 2019. What we want for our business, our customers and ourselves. We have some exciting focusses, like how to become more sustainable and finding ways to bring happiness to the lives of our customers through thoughtful touches in the brand experience, but one conversation that really came to light is what we, as workers and as human beings, want to feel when we sit down at our desks each morning.
Our co-founder, Fergus, brought up Simon Sinek, best known for his book Start With Why, which is about learning to ask the incredibly powerful and ironically short question, "Why?", especially in the business sphere where it so often gets lost. One thing he says is, "Imagine a world in which the vast majority of us wake up inspired, feel safe at work and return home fulfilled at the end of the day." We sat around the table, nodding in agreement that a place with these hopes for their team is a team we want to be part of. The next question, of course, was “How?” The conversation revolved around the words “feeling safe” and “feeling respected.” There are some direct solutions to creating this culture, like making sure to be verbally affirming, always assuming people are doing their best and being encouraged to voice your concerns. There are also some indirect approaches to creating this culture, like taking the first 10 minutes of each morning for team mindfulness through meditation, podcast Fridays and having a painting teacher from the Art Club Edinburgh come into the office for a team night to celebrate making it through the demands of Christmas time (also known as Blanket Season).
We have a long way to go on our path to becoming a “sustainable” business in every sense of the word. We want our products to be made from sustainable practices that respect our lovely planet and we want our workplace to function around sustainable expectations that respect our team. And somehow, simple as it may seem, a team night dedicated to painting, unwinding and enjoying the wonderful people we get to work with is a step in that direction. From encouraging “bring your dog to work” days to being firm believers that there are no stupid questions to our occasional Disney desk karaoke sessions, we see being a small business as a golden opportunity to explore what it means to be the best possible workplace in thoughtful and, at times, unconventional ways. And while we certainly don't have all the answers, we're proud to be asking the questions.