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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Friday, July 23, 2010

Private rooms for employees?

Diversity is crucial to an organization's success but at times, barriers may arise. For instance, a mother may insist that she wants to breast feed her child. It is clear that not all employees would be open to seeing her breast exposed. Other issues may include Muslim employees who need a separate place to worship, transgender employees that require hormone injections and more.

Companies are beginning to realize that they must adapt to these needs in order to attract and retail top talent. A professor once told me about an organization that offered private nursing rooms. I thought it was an ingenious idea that could be taken further. These rooms can be utilized for breast feeding, medical needs (i.e. insulin injections) or private worship. Why should we limit a private space just for mothers when it can be adapted to appeal to other audiences.

The one concern with private rooms is the possibility of employees abusing the rooms (i.e. using illegal drugs, sexual relations, etc.). To overcome these risks, the company provide rooms that will not have locks on the door and instead has signs that can switch from occupied to unoccupied. A lock on the door welcomes deviant behavior and by removing this feature, people will be less likely to abuse the facility. In addition, place the private rooms in a central location where supervisors, human resources or executives can be visible. Employees will feel as though they are at higher risks of getting caught if they are surrounded by important people. In addition, these nearby workers will be able to identify any personnel that may be abusing this privilege.

Cleanliness is also vital for these rooms. Since the rooms can be used for medical conditions, there is a risk of biohazards. To overcome this, employees should be required to sign in and out of the rooms. The rooms should also contain antiseptic wipes and individuals should be expected to wipe down the surfaces upon leaving the room.

By taking these minor precautions, corporations can provide employees with the space they need to do their private tasks. Mothers can comfortable breast-feeding children and Muslim employees can have a place to participate in their private worship. Employees that require injections also have a private space they can use instead of doing their injections on the work floor or in the bathroom in front of others. It is amazing the impact a little private space can make.

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