The Container Store Cheers Office Romance, Love This Valentine's Day

The Container Store banner fir The Container Store is boasting about its workplace romances and resultant marriages this Valentine's Day. That's because love in the workplace has been a boon for the storage retailer's business.

Today when the skies are filled with Cupid's arrows, the 49-store retailer is raising a glass to love and its 4,000 employees, including the dozens of couples who met while working there, with its "National We Love Our Employees Day" campaign.The Container Store is showering its workers with gifts like Godiva chocolates as love songs are piped into each store and shoppers are encouraged to "share the love" by leaving love notes for their favorite employees. The company says this "love in the workplace" vibe has been a key ingredient to its success.

Research has shown that a loving work environment causes the brains of those in it to produce the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which motivates people to care for the people around them, the company says, citing the findings of Paul Zak, founding director of The Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and professor of economics psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University.

In 10 years of research, I have shown that when we are loved and trusted, we in return love and trust others," Zak told WalletPop.

"Love is the foundation for all economic exchange which, at its core, is about serving others. Love creates employee engagement, builds customer loyalty and creates sustainable businesses. Imagine that: the best business practices derive directly from love."

Nearly 40 couples have either met at The Container Store or recruited a spouse/partner after joining the company -- including chief executive officer Kip Tindell and his wife, Sharon Tindell, the company's chief merchandising officer.

The retailer attributes this loving, employees-first culture to its success and its 26% annual compounded growth rate since the chain debuted in 1978. What's more, The Container Store's turnover rate is less than 10%, compared to the retail industry average of 100% or more, the company says.

"I have said many times that The Container Store is an organization with heart and we truly care about each other -- that's how we have been able to build a sustainable business over the past thirty years," Kip Tindell told WalletPop. "I think that's the reason why we have so many couples that have met while working at The Container Store."

So do happier workplaces result in more romances? "This depends on what you call happy," Helen Fisher, the biological anthropologist who is also chief scientific adviser to, told WalletPop.

"If the job environment is very exciting, even dangerous, it is likely to produce and sustain high levels of dopamine in the brains of employees, and this dopamine escalation can trigger feelings of intense romantic love. This is why people tend to fall in love during warfare-the job is so dangerous and unpredictable that it primes the brain for romance," she says.

"But if the job environment is routine, scheduled, and highly familiar, it is not likely to trigger the production of dopamine, or feeling of romantic love," she says.

"That said, people who work together tend to get to know one another intimately. They follow the same schedules, wear the same kinds of office clothes, struggle with the same office pressures, and strive for many of the same office goals. All this shared work can lead to strong personal relationships," Fisher says.

The fact that a company is run by a couple could also contribute to its success. "'Mom and Pop' companies have been around since the dawn of time -- undoubtedly because they work well," Fisher says.

Read Full Story