Few things are more important than office moral. The coffee machine, clean bathrooms, and cleaning the pages with the nudes from the Art of Drawing after a teenage boy has checked it out are three things that come to mind, but not much else. Here are five proven techniques you can implement to improve staff moral in your library.
1. Making Duties Clear and Concise
Everybody likes to know what the hell they are supposed to be doing, even Brenda. Lazy, always on her cell phone Brenda. By telling your staff with understandable directness “Hey, we don’t pay you because you want to be here; everybody has to put books in order,” you give them purpose and meaning. But don’t stop with the vague “see those thousands of books? Put them mofo’s in order, dummy.”
Assign shelving and shelf reading zones. By giving Brenda control over “A-Ge” in the Romance section, you might get her to put down the goddamn phone and work a little. Also, when Romance A-Ge looks like a chimpanzee got drunk and sated his Sandra Brown fix, you know who to talk to. Fucking Brenda, that’s who.
2. Set Schedules and Keep Them
Despite the random chaos that the human race went through to climb out of the primordial ooze and buy iPhones, we like order. Jim may say “schedule me whenever, my pot dealer works 24/7, bro,” but don’t have Jim coming in at a different time everyday. All that does is teach Jim that you use him to fill holes in the schedule like he was a dumb block of pot smoking wood, not that he’s a valued member of the team rather than the soulless machine made to ingest toxins like a sponge bought at a Phish concert.
The same goes with lunches and breaks. Brenda needs to eat at noon everyday or she is, like, so cranky. Fine. Make sure she knows noon is her time to tear through her half a dozen Lunchables like a Homer Simpson on meth. Everyone will benefit from knowing where they are and where they are going.
3. Create Progress Reports
Remember back in kindergarten when the teacher would put a star by your name on a big board for all to see when you learned to spell “cat?” Don’t do that. You are dealing with people in adult bodies and it pays to treat them like that so when you give them a pizza party it seems like a prize and not a way to shut them up for a few months.
A progress report to individual staff does not have to be involved or even interesting. It could be just a few numbers next to statistics like “days missed” and “number of items checked in” that may or may not pertain to the individual. Giving staff individual and global reminders not only makes them feel like you know their name, like Jim who everyone called Tim for a long time, but has added bonus of allowing you to keep your data for quarterly and yearly reports. A win-win situation solved by a spreadsheet.
4. Limit the Spread of Gossip
We all know when Brenda’s not on the phone or has a mouthful of ham-like Lunchable greatness, she’s getting up in everyone’s beeswax like a drunk bear. Library Protip: Like that drunk bear, you can’t stop gossip with Lunchables. People are human beings and our main mode of action is communication. Coincidentally, gossip’s main function is to consume and destroy, the human race’s second best and third best functions.
No hard and fast way exists to stop gossip in a library, but the easiest way is to kill everyone. Since that’s not a good way to boost staff moral and a little illegal, the other easiest way is to not spread it yourself. Be an example. Don’t let Brenda goad you into sharing an opinion about Jim, i.e. that he smells like a Rastafarian whore sandwich this morning. That’s Jim’s business and his supervisor will deal with it if it becomes a problem. Set the example, not the pace of gossip.
5. Advocate for the Legalization of Marijuana
Maybe Jim’s onto something, you know? Seems like a chill guy and after he stopped wearing flip flops to work he hasn’t been a problem and gets shit done. Sure, he lost a kid during story time which is hard considering its a stationary activity, but his rendition of Good Night, Moon using filking brought tears. Free brownies in the break room, people, and the rest of your problems are gone except for that “Art of Drawing” teenager which ewwwwww.