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Your Commute, Infused with Humor


On days like this, when DC commuters have reached their limits and are fed up with more Metro delays and train cancellations, it makes you wonder what anyone could do to improve the commute to work. It’s not just DC, it’s a universal annoyance – dealing with traffic and mass transit problems can be stressful and wreak havoc on employees’ productivity. Whether you have a 30-minute commute in a small town, or a 3-hour commute across state lines, everyone feels the stress at some point.

Perhaps it is the lack of control that is most bothersome to commuters, but there are two groups that have been highlighted in the media recently for their creative approaches to improving the drudgery of commuting to and from the office.

Make DC Smile, a campaign led by Massoud Adibpour is ramping up the morning commute for employees who drive to work in the district. The group encourages commuters to smile by holding up quirky signs for people to read on their way into the office. Signs such as the one above, along with others with sayings like “honk if you love someone” are actually getting results. Even if it’s only a brief pause of drivers passing by to honk or laugh, the theory is this one positive interaction can help improve people’s experiences all day. You can even join the group on Facebook to see where they will be gathering next so you can help spread the cheer by holding up signs too. I’m told by Massoud that it’s catching on and the number of people who show up to participate is steadily increasing, as well as the group’s goal for number of “happy honks” received each morning.

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Across the pond in London, the approach to improving the moods of commuters and people taking mass transit is a little different than DC, but the idea is the same – to improve conditions for commuters by making them laugh. Check out this slideshow from Mashable to get a feel for what they are doing on the London Underground to get commuters to relax. Poking fun of some common “techniques” commuters use to make it through their train ride is sure to get a few good laughs, like when we avoid making eye contact with people passing by in an effort to avoid giving up our seat, or plop in ear buds to reduce the chance of having to speak to people. The signs are pretty clever. I’d love to know if anyone is tracking the effects of these happiness interventions!

What do you do to break up the monotony of commuting? Do you offer your employees flexibility so they can commute to work during non-peak times, or work remotely? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on your commute?

Photo Credits: Make DC Smile; http://imgur.com/a/lUWTG

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jessica McKenzie, MS published on October 22, 2012 8:51 AM.

Teamwork and Trust Take the Edge Off a Ruff Day was the previous entry in this blog.

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