‘People are strange, when you’re a stranger.’- Nothing could be truer in my experience. You pass by someone on the street and you don’t give them a second thought. You may even be sceptical of them if you’re walking home late at night, or you might even push past them for a seat on the train. Point is, people don’t give a darn about anyone except for themselves and their own. What we need is more community, more cohesion, and I learned this from corporate badges in Australia.
When our boss introduced name tags to our company, everything changed. It went from being the place you go to everyday just to earn cash, the place you desperately want to retreat from at the end of the day to return to your suburban nest. The badges changed the atmosphere of the place almost instantly, because you’d refer to ‘that person’ by their first name making communications more personal, more considerate. Slowly, the culture of the place changed too. It went from being cold to being more familiar, and now we’re like a big family. The badges are unique because they’re like a palimpsest, you can wipe them clean and rewrite a new name, for example if someone leaves or if someone’s name has been misspelt (the most embarrassing error). I’m a huge advocate of badges now, in any workplace.
My husband is a nurse and they’ve always had nurse badges. And I think this is a prime example of the effect of knowing a person’s first name. It has a humanizing effect. That’s why everyone loves nurses. Now if the whole world wore name badges then things might be a better place. Hardly any of us even know our neighbours these days, and I think civilisation would go a long way if there was more focus on community not cash.