8 Office Rules that drive everyone crazy

Date: 22/10/15  |  Author: Sean Toomer
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As companies grow, so does their difficulty maintaining standards. There have been many occasions clients have discussed with us employees who have crossed a line, or done something they perhaps should not and their response is usually to create a new restrictive rule that applies to all.But that’s where a company’s culture will be destroyed.

In almost all cases, when we look closer, we can see creating company rules would do more harm, to team morale and productivity, rather than address the issue.


When companies create ridiculous, child-like rules to halt outlandish behaviour of a few, it’s an individual management problem. There’s no sense in alienating your entire team because you don’t know how to manage performance.

I’ve said many times, if you give an employee free reign, they’ll do amazing things.


Here are 8 of the worst rules we’ve seen companies create when they fall for this belief:


1. Banning Mobile Phones


If you prohibit the use of personal phones, staff won’t use them at all and focus entirely on work, right? As if. It’ll be the opposite, but staff will feel ‘sneaky’ for doing so. If there’s an issue with an individual underperforming for spending their life on Facebook or texting, it needs addressing separately. A company wide ban on phones, which some may need to deal with pressing family matters, will make your staff feel like children who can’t be trusted.


2. Restricting Internet use


Almost the same as the above; if an individual abuses the internet address them, not everyone. I certainly would lose productivity if I couldn’t have a break here and there checking the daily news on www.loveknitting.com.


3. Dress code


Limiting dress code is a sure-fire way to destroy any self expression and feeling of self worth in an individual. Same goes for limiting posters, number of family photographs on desks or even having a water bottle on their desk.

It should not be the “If only I could hire robots” approach. Robots won’t go above and beyond. It’s up to your managerial style to make this happen.


4. Limiting breaks


People need a break, staff included. Start limiting basic personal freedom, and staff will start counting their days at your company. If you need to bring in a Doctors’ note to prove you need a toilet break, start looking for a new job.


5. Draconian e-mail rules


Again, it’s about trust. If e-mails need to be monitored and personal e-mails banned, it shows you don’t trust your staff, in which case, why hire them in the first place?


6. Silly requirements for attendance/leave


There are a lot of bigger companies at the moment promoting unlimited paid time off. Why? Because it’s a productivity booster. Employees aren’t children, and they should love their work and career, they wouldn’t jeopardise it by taking a ridiculous amount of time off. If not, they are in the wrong job.


7. Staff ‘ranking’


When you force employees to fit into a predetermined ranking system, you do three things: 1) incorrectly evaluate people's performance, 2) make everyone feel like a number, and 3) create insecurity and dissatisfaction by making performing employees fear for their job.

This is another example of a lazy policy that avoids the hard and necessary work of evaluating each individual objectively, based on merit.


8. Attempts at political correctness


Maintaining high standards for how staff treat each other is a great, particularly as we live in a world that's rife with animosity and discrimination. Still employers have to know where to draw the line. Going on a witch-hunt because someone says "Bless you" to a co-worker who sneezed (real example) creates an environment of paranoia and stifled self-expression, without improving how people treat each other.


In the end...


If companies can rethink their policies and remove or alter those that are unnecessary, demoralizing, or just damn right childish, we'll all have a more enjoyable and productive time at work.


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