A Little "Dash" of Simplicity
Alright, so I’m quickly learning the hardest part about starting a blog is actually starting it. I decided on a name, designed my layout, and even bought a freaking domain, and that was over two weeks ago. Anyways, I settled on this topic as my kickoff post, because it’s my inspiration for starting Out of Office. I had a conversation about this topic with my CEO, and he half heartedly encouraged me to write about it somewhere, because other people like me would be interested in it. We’ll see about that.
Quick background about me as an operations manager: I’m lazy. Honestly. I would rather sit in my big comfy chair, eat Pirate’s Booty, and stare at emails all day than run around the office. To accommodate my lounging, I have to be on top of inefficiencies, be creative, and do a heck of a lot of active problem solving. I will go to really impressive lengths to make sure I won’t have to stand unless one or both of my legs are asleep. It’s my greatest talent.
Most office managers know that keeping stock of all office supplies and groceries is a constant, miserable uphill battle. Not to mention mundane. Add a second office into the juggling act, and forget it. You’d have better luck training your cat to love you unconditionally. After enough hand soap and bagel shortages, I knew I had to try something else. My first attempt involved the team notifying me of office shortages. A sorta “see something, say something” policy. Learn from my mistake, people. Don’t do this. It won’t work.
A brief snippet of Feathr history: We had a very minor toilet paper shortage a while back, and by minor, I mean we had a single roll to share over 3 days. Feathr has survived a lot, but this incident almost broke us. When people realize there’s a toilet paper shortage, they go into total survival mode, whatever that means for them. Some people panic, others attack. Some inform me, some start using paper towels before they have to? I ended up bringing some of my personal supply and everything worked out fine in the end. Anyways, this is what happens when you trust other people to keep track of supplies. They don’t. And you run out of the most basic human essentials.
After that brief melt down, it was clear I needed a better, more reliable system, and I was intent on not going back to manually tracking and ordering supplies.
That’s when I decided to look into Amazon Dash buttons. Dash buttons are adorable lil branded buttons that are assigned to different products (we mostly use them for bathroom supplies, snacks, and drinks). The buttons connect to wifi, so pressing the button orders the item directly from Amazon, charges your account, then shows up at the office two days later. Truthfully, that’s about as much as I understand. It might as well be magic, and I’m okay with that.
I placed the buttons around the office, in plain sight, in what I decided are the most logical locations. For instance, the hand soap button goes in the bathroom, the trash bag button is in the kitchen, and the snack buttons are next to the snacks, obviously.
It’s such a simple and easy to implement solution, and the impact has been substantial. I’ll even call it a game changer. My team picked up on it really quickly, and our snack levels have never been happier! It helps that button-pressing seems to just be human nature, and people can’t help but to press them sometimes. I recommend setting an order limit to the buttons, unless you wanna play Dash roulette and end up with 192 rolls of toilet paper after an office tailgating party (true story).
Dash buttons are the glue that keeps our office together. It’s the breath of fresh air that we needed as team. It gave me the peace of mind knowing that supply levels are self-sustaining now. One more thing off my to-do list. Thank you, Dash. <3
In case you're wondering about that conversation with my CEO:
Poignant, poetic, and insightful. Glad I could write the first blog post about putting Amazon Dash Buttons in your office to shut up whiny employees.