A reader named Tim Wadlow writes in with an interesting theory:
I spent about 10 years as a operations management consultant, working with dirty, dull, and dangerous manufacturing companies.
After spending time at roughly 100 manufacturing locations around the world, I noticed an odd trend: the direction that employees parked in their parking spots highly correlated with employee morale and satisfaction with their jobs. Most of the cars parked forward? A good company to work for, with employees who want to get to work. Most cars backwards? It seems as though the moment that the employee got to work, he or she was planning a quick exit.
Next time you drive by a manufacturing company check it out.
Maybe CEO’s should study Google Earth maps of their parking lots to determine if they are changing a companies culture?
I love Tim’s thinking and would love to see someone test the idea empirically even though I have my doubts. The forward/reverse parking metric strikes me as too crude and too binary to tell us much of anything. But maybe I’m wrong.
One other thought: drug use is a big problem in some manufacturing plants; maybe employees who get to work stoned are more likely to park forward; and maybe that’s why companies with a lot of forward-parked cars tend to seem happier?