08 de setembre 2014



Work like a bee in a beehive

Rules that govern a beehive can work wonders if replicated at the modern workplace

Dr N Ganapathy, a professor at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Chennai wonders why management students spend thousands to sign up for corporate workshops.

There's a far simpler and cheaper lesson they can learn by standing before a hive, and watching the ways of honey bees. "Use the bee as your social guide. They are part of a complicated process that brings us the honey we so enjoy. Try adopting their work ethics, and see where it can take you," he said of the social insects that live in the same dwelling, rely on each other for the survival of the hive, and appear to be perpetually busy.

Ganapathy, who spoke at a session organised at Pollinator I — The Bee Festival held in Chennai last week, outlined six lessons corporates can learn from bees.

Lesson 1: Divide Duties
Bees lead a structured life. Their roles are welldefined, and they are genetically programmed not to trespass into another's territory. The drones mate with the queen. The queen lays eggs, and the worker bees are beasts of burden. The last lot handles every responsibility from scavenging, storing pollen and processing the nectar to feeding the queen bee. There is no conflict of roles, and that's the perfect model to adopt in any organisation. Let's say, you define waking up and going to work as a daily goal. That's not a definite goal. A professional goal needs clarity. It must be worth achieving so that a specific outcome can be expected, as is the case with bees working towards one clear goal — to produce honey.

Lesson 2: Co-operate
The spirit of cooperation is more important to bees than the spirit of competition, explained Ganapathy. It takes a cluster of them to derive honey; they know they can't do it alone. And this is possible only because they coexist. Members of a professional team must bring in their own experience and expertise to a project to help create an effective product. Communicating and sharing ideas is crucial, as is mutual respect for each member's contribution.

Lesson 3: Be loyal
Loyalty to one's community is key to its long term survival. If bees are storing pollen and processing nectar from a mango plant, they will not be distracted until the time they are done working on that particular plant. Ganapathy said, "In a very silent way, there's a mutual understanding between the flower and the bee about what they'd like to achieve from each other. The flowers trust them because over time, bees have established themselves as a loyal species."

A loyal employee is one who sticks to guidelines, working hours and meets

Lesson 4: Work hard
Ever watched a worker honey bee do her job? She's perpetually on her feet, just like the matriarch who saves for the future. The honey bees' work ethics have even inspired adages ('being busy as a bee', 'be the bee's knees'). "Drones (male bees), however, are lazy. They do no work, which is why the worker honey bees (female) end up attacking them," said Ganapathy. "This could happen to you some day, if you sit around warming your chair, letting others take the workload!"deadlines, all of which guarantee productivity and satisfied clients. In the modern workplace, loyalty is an ethic that's highly valued.

Remember, most employers want to hire professionals they can nurture so that the company stands to gain. Over time, this loyalty reaps benefits for the employee too, whether it's through perks or promotion.

Lesson 5: Be punctual
Punctuality is a common professional ethic that most of us fall short on. For bees, everything depends on the sun. They start their day soon after the sun rises, and return to their hives around 3.30 pm (unless the skies are overcast). Keeping time helps them deliver optimum results. In a professional set up, the workplace operates smoothly when workers stick to time. Being late often ups stress levels, and that's not the best state to be in if you wish to be productive. Being habitually late can lock you into a pattern. When tardiness becomes the norm, even your job might be in jeopardy.

Lesson 6: Duty comes first, rights next
For bees, society comes first, the self comes later. It's a fiercely protective species. In a hive, one worker bee serves as a guard who prosecutes intruders who try breaking into the hive. If threatened, it stings. "When a bee stings, it dies. It sacrifices its own life to protect its community and colleagues. For bees, it is duty first," said Ganapathy.