Episode 101.5 – Green Apple Slice


Creating Happiness: Creative Workers Claim to be Happiest at Work


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Workforce article, “Creating Happiness: Creative Workers Claim to be Happiest at Work” by Ariel Parrella-Aureli.


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    It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices where every week, Rachel Fisch and I talk through an article that we find online that has to do with corporate culture, employee engagement, things like that. What I’m trying to do right now is just have this intro go as long as possible so I keep Rachel waiting before introducing here. There she is. Rachel Fisch, the accountant groups leader for Sage in Canada.

    Rachel: Hey, John. How are you doing?

    John: Doing great. Doing great.

    Rachel: Good.

    John: You had a really, really busy week.

    Rachel: Oh, my goodness. So fun. As I mentioned, a week between Invictus games and the IPBC annual conference just north of Toronto which was fantastic, wrapping it up with the closing ceremonies of the Invictus games. I mean, what an amazing concert. Artists like Bachman Turner, Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Bruce Springsteen – you may have heard of a few of those. Just a phenomenal concert.

    Actually, in Monkton right now – Monkton, New Brunswick – for the first day of our K2E Enterprises Accounting Technology Tour where we’re going to go across the country in about 14 cities in about a month or so, and today is day one.

    John: Yeah. You’re like a Carmen Sandiego or accounting and bookkeeping. But my favorite part of this is I get to learn cities in Canada, because as you were saying that, I’m Google Map-ing Monkton. Sure enough, there it is.

    Rachel: It exists. Yeah. I know. It’s a place. Tomorrow’s Halifax, Ottawa, Marcum, Toronto.

    John: Yeah. Very cool. I also had a little trip myself down to Jackson, Mississippi to visit HORNE, a really, really cool accounting firm. Joey Havens, the managing partner, invited me down to come hang out for a day and a half with their people. Wow. Talk about taking a genuine interest in everybody around you.

    Rachel: Oh, that’s awesome.

    John: This firm is just firing on all cylinders on that. It was just so encouraging and exciting to see.

    Rachel: Great.

    John: Yeah. Absolutely. Big thank you to them. We’re both just on the go. I’m glad that we’re able to –

    Rachel: We’re busy people.

    John: Yeah. I’m glad we were able to make time to talk through this. I found an article online like we do every week about corporate culture and employee engagement. This one was really, really good. I found it in Workforce Magazine. It was by Ariel Parrella-Aureli. It was Creating Happiness: Creative Workers Claim to be the Happiest at Work.

    Creative. As you and I are both somewhat creative, and in this accounting bookkeeping, we’re all just stereotypically not creative, so I thought that it’d be a really cool article to talk through.

    I guess Robert Half did a study of 12,000 US and Canadian workers – again firing on both of us. It’s like it was made for this podcast. They reported that the highest levels of on-the-job satisfaction and interest in your work and what have you tends to be people that are more creative and in the more creative fields as opposed to accounting, finance, admin, legal – things like that.

    Rachel: Yeah. As somebody who’s worked – my entire career has been in finance and accounting roles – I’m like, wait a minute. I think I’m creative, and I’m happy. But what they say is that there are people in finance jobs who may have fallen into the jobs instead of having a really guided point of what they wanted to do.

    Like when you’re little and you’re thinking about what you want to be when you grow up, it’s usually not an accountant or bookkeeper, but it’s okay if it is, because there’s still other ways that you can use creativity. Let’s not forget that some creative accounting can land you in jail, but there is some creativity that comes with – like especially in the Cloud accounting and app world – building innovative workflow solutions for our clients.

    Sometimes, it does take out-of-the-box thinking. But it was actually your interview with Jaime Rein a few weeks ago – Episode 99. Jaime’s a great friend of mine. One of the things that I got to thinking about after her episode was there are a lot of people who are actually really creative, and so that’s where these hobbies and these passions come from when you see accounting firms doing paint nights and things like that, just using a completely different side of their brain that ends up actually benefiting them at work. I kind of thing that’s what the Green Apple message is all about.

    John: Yeah. Definitely. Just finding out somebody’s hobbies and passions and there is another side to us. When accounting firms hire us or consulting firms or companies or what have you, they hire all of us, not just the part that does the work side. Not just the accountant part. Definitely nurturing all sides of us in the benefit for the firm and the people. Everybody wins.

    Rachel: Absolutely. Last week, we talked about being innovative within your own workplace. I mentioned Randi Zuckerberg Hackathon in your own office, thinking about what your competition would be like if you were your own competition, stuff like that. It talks about here having space for flexible hours, communal working areas, and casual dress codes allow for more creativity because then you can get those creative juices flowing.

    The only thing that I want to say about the communal working areas, though – I have some opinions about this. Here we go.

    John: Uh-oh. Get a seatbelt, everybody.

    Rachel: I do agree that you need to have space within your office where your people can come together. If everybody has their own closed-door offices, there isn’t ever an opportunity or a reason for people to intersect and connect with each other. Having those connection points within your office just spatially I think is really crucial.

    What I’m having a little bit of trouble with though are the open office concepts that really kind of don’t allow you to go into your own brain and just get work done. We were talking again last week where I mentioned about getting the deep work done as opposed to just shallow work, and that managers only have less than seven hours a week to do that. I’m really kind of struggling between the look and the modern idea of having these open workspaces and really making sure that you’re giving your employees their own space, their personalized space where they can actually be their best and their most productive. I think that there is definitely a balance there.

    John: There’s definitely a balance. That’s for sure. It’s finding that. I agree. If you do set a bunch of tables set up in a room, that’s open concept, but where does your area start, and where does mine end? I’m going to always end up sitting next to the space creep person that ends up piling files onto my side. Then it just gets silly.

    Rachel: Yeah, or the loudest person.

    John: For sure. But I think the message here too was just instilling work pride in everyone and just reminding your staff why it’s a great place to work, and also reminding yourself that you need to remind them.

    Rachel: Not telling them but showing them I think is huge. Putting your action where your words are, for sure.

    John: Oh, look at you. Look at you. What a great way to wrap it up right there. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week, and have happy travels across eastern Canada. We’ll talk soon.

    Rachel: Great. Have a good week, John.

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