"Who doesn't like to dance?" asks CEO Carolyn Gable. So when her top managers made a case for boogying in the office, Gable was an easy sell. The supervisors at New Age Transportation, her shipping and logistics company based in Lake Zurich, Ill., propped up a boom box on kitchen chairs and within a few minutes many of Gable's 48 employees were on their feet doing the cha-cha slide to Tina Turner.
While a few wallflowers were reluctant to get down in front of their peers, the dancing was welcome stress relief for the small, third-party logistics company, where most employees spend the day staring at computer screens, deciphering intricate shipping schedules, tracking customer invoices, and doing their best to wow a handful of loyal clients. Spurred by popular demand, the managers planned another dance for the next day, and the dance fever soon took on a life of its own.
In fact, the staff has become dependent on its 10-minute dance breaks -- at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. every workday. But what surprised Gable was that the swaying, twisting, and twirling has also fostered camaraderie and better communication between departments. "Mike in truckload would never have had a conversation with Barbara in billing," says Gable. "Now they dance next to each other."
People are briefly distracted, Gable concedes, but she says the boost in morale makes it worthwhile. Though you might think disco music might sound unprofessional to a shipping client, Gable claims her customers are fans. They can hear the energy and enthusiasm in her employees' voices, she says, and sometimes call just to listen in on the fun. "Twice a day," she says, "people are laughing. They can act crazy. And the usual infighting, I just don't hear it anymore."