Warehouse Hockey & Company Culture

Last year I wrote about how we use our shipping dock as a hockey goal.  For a while it was fun to just blast shots at the goal.  Then it was fun to try to score a goal from real far away.  Then it was fun to put up targets with pictures of our least favorite vendors.  But alas, all of that grew old.  So Greg and I set out to make up a new game to entertain us when we didn’t feel like working.  After months of experimentation I think we’ve found it.

On the back side of our office there’s this little storage area.  I started experimenting with shooting pucks towards the goal from behind the storage area.  With all of the stuff in the way of the goal it’s become quite a challenge.  We shoot from the red x in the picture below:

Warehouse Hockey

Here’s the view from behind:

Warehouse Hockey

It looks easier than it is.  We don’t allow lame little lob shots over the top – you’ve got to drill it through.  We’ve only been playing for a week or two, but no one has hit the target from back here.  We can get it in the goal pretty routinely (1 in 5 shots maybe) but the target is real hard to hit.  You need to keep the puck low enough to hit the target, but high enough to clear the boxes and wide enough to miss the bins. Even if you get that part right, there’s the paper towels, the push cart, the vacuum, and the oil stick that get in the way:

Warehouse Hockey

We’ve each hit the screws just above the target a few times, but never low enough to hit it directly.  When we do get it in the goal low enough, it’s generally to the left by a few inches.  Very frustrating, but very fun.   This is so much fun that over the past few weeks I’ve found myself staying late on Friday afternoons to shoot pucks with Greg.

Here’s the thing:  we’re not afraid to create our own culture.  We like to work hard and focus, but we also like to play around and act like we’re 12 sometimes.  That’s why we play hockey, listen to 90’s rap music while packing orders, and fly around on razor scooters that aren’t supposed to hold more than 143 lbs:

Warehouse Razor Scooters

I’ve heard of companies that provide free alcoholic drinks for their employees.  It’s not a big deal for them to have a few beers while on the job.  Or there’s Zappos, who holds interviews over vodka shots.  It’s great if that works for them, but we’d never ever allow that.  It’s not us.

Our company culture has become a reflection of our personalities.  If you allow that to naturally happen it will shine through in everything you do – from your relationships with vendors, to customer service, to your relationships with your employees.  People will see through you if you aren’t genuine.  You’ll also probably be less happy.  It would be really easy for a company that’s growing as fast as we are to start changing.  To start becoming “too good” for certain things.  We can justify not doing just about anything in the name of “it’s not worth my time”.  But we genuinely like what we do, and we genuinely care so we keep working hard, we keep valuing every customer, we keep going out to dinners on the company’s dime to celebrate, and we’ll continue to shoot pucks at our shipping dock.

2 comments on Warehouse Hockey & Company Culture

  1. Neville says:

    I say you have a “Come to Work Drunk” Day and see how accurate everyone performs their jobs.

    Just don’t yak in a customers order 🙂

    • Adam McFarland says:

      We have a strict “no interacting with customers drunk” policy 🙂 If you want to check emails, forums, etc, that’s fine. But no replying. Also, I don’t program drunk. Again, brainstorming/strategizing = OK, but no actual work. I’ve never tried packing an order drunk, but it doesn’t sound like much fun…I’d probably puke from all of the speed walking around the warehouse.

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