S.T.A.R.S Corporation deeply believes that office cultures are a powerful driver of the company culture. Events are the practices that consist of certain acts that involve the people attending. Events that take place in the company keep the employees connected to the core values that a company stands for. They become a reflection of what the company holds valuable and provides the team members with an idea about what is essential for the company. For this exact reason, S.T.A.R.S Corporation plans and executes many weekly and monthly events to ensure that every individual that works in this company is synchronized in thought, direction, motivation, positivity and goal.
One of these events is the “Philosophical Friday”. A one of a kind session conducted in S.T.A.R.S Corporation to make sure that the team members feel heard and they can have a free space all to themselves where the employees can speak about whatever they wish and disclose their thoughts in a judgment free zone. Imagine, that instead of hosting big team trainings where employees start to lose interest before the training ends, you explored an uncharted territory with your colleagues every week? That is what our employees do on every Friday! At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we have hosted knowledge sharing, discussion based sessions on a weekly basis and we have seen it drastically influence the company culture.
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. organizes regular sessions on mental health and its importance in the ever changing world
WHAT IS PHILOSOPHICAL FRIDAY?
Every Friday, S.T.A.R.S Corporation conducts a 60-minute wisdom sharing session where the team members interact about everything from the latest trends in technology to eastern philosophy. The company encourage one of the team members to lead each philosophical Friday to ensure that everyone is equally included in these events. This session has done wonders for the people. An example of how fruitful these sessions are is that it makes knowledge delivery very efficient! If one of the employees reads a mindboggling book, attends a conference, or comes across a thought provoking concept, the knowledge is shared and discussed among all the employees; making the spread of information more efficient and engaging.
S.T.A.R.S Corporation organizes regular sessions on mental health and its importance in the ever changing world, how to maintain work-life balance, something one of the team members learned about in their role, or even a presentation about the culture of the town they’re from. Once a week, we get to learn about a completely new topic and this has been very effective as a personal development event for S.T.A.R.S Corporation. The spirit of inquiry and willingness to absorb knowledge from team mates has become something very natural; we take this time every week to salvage these kindled curiosities and ensure that the employees are always learning and that also, not only regarding work but life as well.
WHY PHILOSOPHICAL FRIDAY?
Philosophy is at the heart of everything that we do or learn. The very word explains what it stands for. The word ‘Philo’ means love and the word ‘Sophia’ means wisdom. Philosophy is the love for wisdom; an urge to get answers. Philosophy also teaches us how to ask the right questions because only when you learn to ask the right questions can you work towards finding the right answers. It may seem boring from a distance but philosophy provides the episteme from which every field derives its roots and strengthens its foundation. To answer questions, you must first learn how to ask the right questions. At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we are deeply invested in the wellbeing of our team, which is why we take out this valuable time from our work routines and put in this additional effort to have a constructive conversations about all the different topics that impact the lives of our team members.
There are many reasons to discuss philosophy, however, the most noticeable reason in our view is that we need to learn to ask big questions. We need to ask the questions that we usually shy away. We ask these complex questions and then categorically deconstruct them into more tangible parts that humans can decipher. This teaches the S.T.A.R.S Corporation team to deconstruct not only philosophical questions but allows them to carry this practice with themselves into their work and life; assisting them in directing their energies more meaningfully. When problems arise at work, the team has become equip to do the same; break down large hurdles into smaller, easier to solve piecemeal size bits. This allows the team to better understand and detangle complex problems that arise from time to time. Another reason for incorporating this event is to learn how to separate common sense from logic. Growing up with so many ideologies that are widely accepted and celebrated, we tend not to ask questions about what seems like the norm. We are all humans and as humans, we tend to assume that many things are correct as they are popular believes and they have been well established over time. Here at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we prefer to learn how to shift out thinking from sense to reason. We are on a journey to continuously train our minds to look for the logic of things rather than taking them at face value. S.T.A.R.S Corporation values correcting the errors of common sense. This is an essential value that we believe that is required, not only by us as a company but as individuals. This conscious thinking process reaps fruit in the office space every other day. Where there are people, there are disagreements. In the company, we do not try to avoid the discomfort of confronting disagreements; we prefer to discuss them in a positive manner. These philosophical Fridays allow our employees to learn how to rewire their thinking to make it more logical in life; instilling the idea that simply because a concept is accepted by the majority doesn’t necessarily have to mean that it is reasonable. This thought process also gives rise to more creative thinking approaches where people learn to view things from a lens that differs from what they believe is correct, allowing them to think about creative alternate options. S.T.A.R.S Corporation actively works towards building their employees and holding their hands as they climb the mountain of personal growth. Socrates said, “Know yourself”, and we believe every team member is on a personal journey to better comprehend their own self and where there life is headed. There is a mental confusion faced by every person who pauses for a moment to ponder upon life. What is my purpose? Does everyone need to work? Why do I have the job that I have? Where do I belong? Where am I headed? These questions can sometimes be overwhelming and our company provides a platform to the employees where they can share their thoughts without feeling judged, so that some understanding could be developed to quench the thirst for answers. These sessions function as the street lights as our team members try to find their way around their thoughts; looking for answers on every corner. There is a question as old as time that people seem to ask but never seem to answer; what is true happiness? It would be unfair to say that in our sessions we have discovered the long unanswered question, however, these sessions have provided a channel to better understand what is perceived office happiness; why so many people end up being unhappy at work and why so many people continue to work in unhappy job roles? These philosophical Friday sessions have proven to be fruitful for our team members but helping us understand how we over estimate the value of happiness associated with certain things e.g. capital gains, cars, jewels, homes, whereas; we under estimate the value of happiness in so many places where it is so rightly deserved. We try to understand these difficult concepts together as a team so that we can be more satisfied and at ease at work. Allowing the employees to venture into a stream of self-consciousness and awareness helps them be more at peace with themselves and their life choices. Conducting a philosophical discussion session also allows our team members to build an essential character strength: not losing perspective when things do not go as planned. In life and even in the office, there are many instances when things do not go as planned. Sometimes, work is not complete with the deadline right around the corner, or your car breaks down as you’re running late for a meeting. It is not unusual to panic in such a situation and feel that you have no control over life. Since philosophy is a great way to learn about perspectives and reading the situation for everything that it is, this allows our team members to take these sessions and utilize them to build great strengths in our personality.
IMPORTANCE OF PHILOSOPHICAL FRIDAY
Philosophical Fridays have become one of the most important events of the company. The 6o minute session allows the entire team to explore new thought patterns and consideration of alternate opinions. One of the major topics of discussion in these sessions is morality. It helps our clients give their points of view about what is right and what is wrong. It helps detangle the knots of what is allowed, what is considered normal, and what is morally sound. Another reoccurring topic is ethical decision making. S.T.A.R.S Corporation is deeply invested in the idea of ethical thinking and does everything it can to implement it. Here at the company, it is believed that the only way to conduct a sale is through ethical buying. There is no room for cheating a client or giving false hopes that the company would eventually fail to deliver. Ethical thinking affects our everyday life more than we usually realize. It may even seem temporarily easy to not follow these rules; however, in the long run they do become a concern. All of our team members are on the same page about the importance of ethical thinking. They understand how it is vital for the company, and also as human beings to work ethically. It is vital for S.T.A.R.S Corporation that the entire company feels strongly about ethical decision making as the company takes pride in the fact that they do not partake in any unethical dealings in their work. Another complex topic that the team loves to bring up is truth. The discussion ranges from what is the importance of telling the truth, all the way to how can truth be defined or identified? As a team, we have learned that there is no one truth. There are as many versions of the truth as there are people involved. These topics serve more than just one purpose. The team members benefit from these sessions by being able to untie the knots of queries in their minds and becoming wiser individuals with a better understanding of the world and a finer thought process; all of which make them wiser human beings.
WHO CONDUCTS THESE SESSIONS
There is no one person who is handed over the responsibility to conduct these sessions. Instead of placing the entire responsibility to steer the conversation on one individual, the team members are encouraged to initiate these sessions themselves. This way, every Friday, one team member at S.T.A.R.S Corporation takes the initiative to conduct the philosophical Friday session. Allowing the team members to initiate and conduct these sessions, helps the team to be better engaged and involved in the session. The sessions have a very open ended criteria; team members can go any route that they see fit for the session. Team members can opt for an open ended sentence method. These statements generate a lot of diverse responses as there is no limitation attached to the answers. Questions such as, ‘A strong work ethic comes from…’ are the perfect way to get people interacting and sharing their thoughts. Sometimes an employee will start of by asking a philosophical riddles such as the philosophical thought experiment called. ‘Mary’s Room’. These philosophical dilemmas help the team members listen to and understand opposing views. This helps team members not only view things from a different perspective but they also learn to make peace with opposing opinions and thought processes. Some employees like to make a presentation and go over an ideology in a more systematic way. Any form of discussion is okay with us as long as it engages all of the employees and gets people to think about these topics. With sessions being conducted voluntarily, every individual gets the opportunity to conduct sessions about topics that they feel more strongly about. It is a great initiative to welcome a diverse range of topics to the discussion table and get everyone involved in the session.
Any form of discussion is okay with us as long as it engages all of the employees
THE MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF THESE SESSIONS
S.T.A.R.S Corporation took the initiative to conduct these philosophical Friday sessions very early on, and they have never regretted their decision to do so. The sessions have proven to be a lot more fruitful then it was initially imagined. There are many reasons for the company to keep on continuing this event in the company. One of these reasons is the wellbeing of the employees. At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, it is believed that for the work to be conducted smoothly and that too with the top tier quality that the company promises their clients, it is essential that the employees are mentally at ease. The company is driven towards success due to the diligent efforts of the team members. The company realizes this fact and makes a conscious effort to make their employees feel more at ease when they come to work for S.T.A.R.S Corporation.Another reason for conducting these sessions rather than focusing on trainings like most other companies, is that employees feel more at ease in opening up with their line managers and other co-workers in a discussion based session where every answer is welcomed equally and no opinion is criticized. This allows for a more comfortable environment for the employees to open up and in a way, bond with their co-workers; understanding their point of view and making sense of where the other person’s thought process is being originated from. This works as a stepping stone for a clearer communication within the company and due to the new found familiarity amongst employees, the team members are more empathetic towards each other as well. These sessions have also proven to be fruitful in one more sense; they create a sense of belonging amongst team members. This sense of ownership towards the company makes the employees feel more connected to the company and its cause. The company and the team members become two threads of one unified knit design, creating magical outcomes by supporting each other to fulfil their fullest potential. A sense of belonging also gives rise to a feeling of loyalty towards the company that may not have been possible otherwise. This is apparent in S.T.A.R.S Corporation as each and every one of the employees’ treats the company like their own; taking complete ownership of responsibilities and never shying away from taking care of the office by playing their part in the office, while simultaneously making sure that they inform the concerned departments with any short comings that they notice; always moving forward towards betterment and growth. Another benefit of these philosophical Friday sessions is training the mind to think upon matters that people might not pay heed to in their fast paced lives. It is quite easy to get super pre-occupied with the routine of today’s life. In these routines we rarely take out the time to ponder upon the universal questions and philosophical truths. In the end of the day, learning to pause and ponder might be the most important trait that you might learn through the integration of these philosophical Friday sessions. As time passes by, having answers to these questions or at least having paid attention to them will result in the team member being more tranquil and conscious of the events that unfold around them.
Philosophy is slowly becoming less and less common in today’s world where people do not pay heed to the development of a thinking mind and the life has started to look like a race with no time to sit and ponder upon questions that arise within the minds of human beings. S.T.A.R.S Corporation realizes how people are most effected by the ‘Google effect’ which states that over time people are utilizing the wonders of their brain lesser and lesser by not trying to remember information in their minds and simply searching everything on Google instead. The human mind can create a network of interrelated information and remember them, however, like any skill, the memory also requires that the person sits down and focuses on the development of thoughts in the mind. Conducting these philosophical Friday sessions allows people to put down their devices and come together to sit down and let their minds loose in a field of thoughts and ideas. This helps people connect their thoughts better, become more creative over time and develop a sense of appreciation for opposing views rather than being offended by anyone who does not agree with them. The advantages are drastic and apparent. In the end, S.T.A.R.S Corporation believes that events that drive a culture need to be engaging enough for the team members to want to partake in the discussions and productive enough to aid the employees in both personal and professional lives. The company considers all the needs of their employees in the truest of sense; all these efforts being made are focused towards the growth of the individual team members which the company believes are their biggest and most essential asset. At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we try to enjoy what we do, and the team members are truly passionate about the company they work in and the products that the company delivers to their clients. This helps the company create an overall team spirit and keep the team spirit alive by conducting events that prove to be fruitful for the team members.