A workplace should be an ever-changing environment. If your workplace practices haven’t changed over the past one to three years, there’s a very good chance that at least some of them are out of date.
Think about this…is your office still encumbered by needless formality? Does your workplace seem more like a factory of working robots than a desirable place to be?
Well, it’s about time to revamp your company’s workplace culture. Join the 21st century!
In this article, we have outlined 6 workplace policies and practices which have long since outlived their usefulness. Let’s start!
1. Stodgy Dress Codes
Dress-code systems knocked on the doors of the workplace in the 1950’s. Through the years, the workplace dress codes have experienced innumerable changes.
Clothing may vary from person to person depending on the social status, circumstances, and significance of the person. Suits and ties were once commonplace at work, now workers can often be found in jeans.
More companies are shifting toward a less formal dress code (not just on Fridays). In fact, as many as half of the firms surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management said they allow casual dress every day to increase employees’ productivity.
What’s clear from all this is that what you wear to work is mattering less and less in many industries. It’s possible to close a deal or land a job or get promoted without owning a suit. We can, in many cases, choose to be comfortable, wear clothes that reflect who we are, and style our hair and nails as we please.
However, dress code isn’t always synonymous with uniform — that’s another story. But, depending on your industry, you may want to consider removing the old-fashioned dress code as a way for employees to become more comfortable in the workplace (as long as it matches your company brand).
However, as dress codes slacken, things do become more ambiguous—which is why the age-old advice always seems sound: If you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate, it’s probably not. When in doubt, always dress up rather than down. And as long as it’s appropriate in a family reunion, you’re good to go!
Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but the growing shift from putting importance on how you appear to how you deliver at work is certainly reassuring.
But I guess, it’s time to say goodbye to old suits and A-line skirts.
2. Static Schedules
Does your organization offer work flexibility? If it does, congratulations! Your company is one of the 80% of businesses that have made it their business to improve their employees’ lives by offering flexible work options.
If your company is still on the fence about flexible schedules, now might be the time to consider converting to a flex-friendly work environment mindset.
Studies have repeatedly shown that employees who work flexibly are more engaged, happier, and invested in the company (less likely to quit their jobs). All of this results in increased productivity for the employers, as well as for the employees.
Furthermore, being rigid about arrival times when the work doesn’t require it is an egregious culture error that many companies still cling to.
It’s certainly true that in some jobs, time of arrival truly matters. But managers who are sticklers for precise arrival times and penalize employees who are late are focusing on the wrong thing. In many other jobs, performance is and should be measured by the quality of work and results – not by whether someone didn’t land in their desk chair by 9 am (or whatever their start time is).
Bottom line: no employee should get into trouble for coming into work late. Especially if they stayed hours past quitting time last night, or if they worked all night on work that they brought home.
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3. No telecommuting
Telecommuting (working from home) has numerous benefits for employers and employees. By not offering remote work options, you’ll put your company behind the curve and it will seem outdated to potential employees.
For starters, telecommuting can save time and money in commuting costs, and also allows employees to meet the demands of their busy lives. Allowing staff to carry out their duties either wholly or partially from home can help them to manage their work and home commitments. This means that employees are more productive and often work long hours without a draining commute.
And for companies, telecommuting saves money by lowering utility and other overhead costs. Implementing a remote work policy in your company is a no-brainer. Not only will it help the employees to be more productive, but it also helps when it comes to retaining employees.
4. Forced Ranking
It’s time to get rid of outdated workplace practices that don’t increase productivity and forced ranking is definitely one of them.
Forced ranking (sometimes called Stack Ranking) is a process of lining up your employees and comparing them to one another, Best to Worst.
Placing employees into lower tiers may end up being a detriment to their morale. They may be led to believe that their efforts are getting them nowhere. This can result in performance stagnation, or worse, a decrease in productivity.
Also, this policy encourages employees to compete with one another than to work together as a team. A lack of cooperation will result in lowered production. It can weaken ethics and negatively impact corporate culture.
According to Forbes, “Forced rankings have been controversial for a while, and there has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of these systems with most of the cons focusing on the impact on employee morale. But the damage goes far beyond employee morale.”
Bottom line: People are unique and whole in themselves. There is nothing to compare between one person and another– Good thing smart employers have always known this. Any organization that doesn’t get it doesn’t deserve employee’s talents.
The hierarchy or “do what you’re told” is the traditional approach of managing people within teams, departments, and company structures. Bodies performed simplified, repetitive tasks on the production line, needing commands and direction from the top management.
This traditional workplace practice does not move forward innovation for everyone. This approach of top-down management also leads to micromanagement.
There are still many managers in organizations who tend to micromanage their subordinates and take the form of bosses whose only job is to require more and more. In today’s modern world, this practice does not work any longer.
Lastly, managers also no longer need to write-up employees for minor infractions to keep them in line. Workplace culture can be improved with better communication, system changes that provide increased opportunity for meaningful work or change of working conditions.
6. No personal activity during work hours
Better known as the all-work-and-no-play policy, employers treat their workers like functioning robots throughout their entire work schedule/shift. If you’re still a believer of this practice, maybe it’s time to change your perspective.
Yes, forcing employees to laser focus on their tasks for 8 straight hours (or more) can get the job done, but it can also lead to poor management that makes the affected team members unhappy.
Gone are the days when a manager had to oversee each employee’s time. No longer should employees be trapped in an office each day receiving disapproving looks if they chat with a coworker or spend an extra 10 minutes at lunch.
A workplace that can allow employees to carve out this personal time will reap the rewards by employee longevity and productivity.
One example is the use of the internet for personal browsing during work hours. The Internet is so integrated into our everyday lives that employees intrinsically know how to utilize it in the best way.
Limiting access to social media doesn’t necessarily make sense anymore, as many jobs require the very use of it. Social sites can also be a useful way to take a mental break and avoid employee “burnout” during busy days.
Another example is prohibiting employees from eating snacks in the middle of working hours. We have mentioned from our recent article the 7 reasons you need food and beverage in the office and clearly, there are a huge number of benefits associated with it.
Bottom line: Employees are far more productive when they’re able to strike a balance between their personal and work activities. Trusting employees will go a long way in creating a positive company culture.
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Updating your workplace practices to match the current workforce is a difficult thing to do.
However, if your company wants to attract top-tier talent, take a hard look at your workplace practices and see what you can do to make your company a desirable, modern place to work.
In contrast, outdated practices at your workplace can affect employee morale, hinder efficiency, or even hinder profit margins. As a business owner, employer, or manager–you’re the one responsible for establishing the right structure and culture to drive success.
Always remember that companies have no other fuel source to power organizations, apart from the talent and motivation of employees.
Making sure everyone feels motivated is important for creating a happy workplace, where people want to and can do their best work. It should be at the top of your “culture code”.
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