What a ball of yarn can teach us about toxic culture in the workplace

Published on February 15, 2019 2 min read

The yarn world has been enraptured this week, by a darling ball of yarn called Purl. If you haven’t seen this wonderful short from Pixar, you’ll be as delighted as we were, to see this unlikely heroine transform her office environment from toxic ‘bro’ culture to inclusive and happy.

Purl is a perfectly pink ball of yarn who arrives at an office for her first day at work, full of excitement and enthusiasm, and is instantly squashed and ignored by the all-male suited and booted staff who laugh at her and leave her out of their conversations, meetings and boys’ lunches.

In her desperation to fit in, Purl vanishes to the bathroom and knits herself a suit. Transformed, she can become one of the boys, and by changing herself she instantly becomes acceptable and part of the gang.  It is only when another ball of yarn arrives, a delightful lemony yarn ball called Lacey, that she realizes how far she has compromised herself - and steps forward away from the men to welcome Lacey to the team.

It is the first step to creating an inclusive environment - the next shot we see, is an office humming with happiness and balls of yarn of every hue working alongside the suits.

Use your craft for good

Purl gives us an insightful way to look at diversity in the workplace, and for us, particularly in our industry, of how we need to make a conscious effort to include and celebrate everybody’s contribution and expression, embracing gender, race, sexuality and disability.

Here are three examples of ways we have encouraged self expression and teamwork here at LoveCrafts, in our workplace.

1. Join in!

During a Paintbox Yarns campaign we encouraged the team to come to work dressed in their favorite Paintbox shade! It was a great way to ensure that everyone was part of a campaign that included every team.

2. Share-a-skill workshops

From poetry lunch and verse and scone making, to digital photography - we all have skills outside our day jobs. At LoveCrafts we've introduced fun opportunities for everyone to share their hidden talents, join in and learn something new.

3. 'Valen-kind'

We love to share the love at LoveCrafts, and there is no better day to express your love than Valentine's Day, so we set up a Valen-kind box for everybody to share messages - you can see just how popular it was! And it's not just Valen-kinds day, each month we nominate our coworkers for a Smart, Kind or Maker award, recognizing the little things our colleagues do to contribute to a positive workplace.

Knitters and crocheters, we know how much you love to express yourselves - playing with color, shape, form and texture. We crafters carry the flag for being creative, artistic and we can shout loud! Purl shows us that we can change our environments, and be ourselves.

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