It’s fair enough to have rules to govern processes, behaviour and conduct in an office environment. However, if management responds to every instance of bad behaviour by creating a new item in the office rulebook then the situation quickly becomes nightmarish. These are just some of the terrible rules that businesses come up with in a bid to regulate and regiment their workforces – but which actually only manage to alienate and antagonize staff.
- Gauge performance on a bell curve: Assuming that workplace performance follows a bell curve (and that the lowest performing members of any team are failures), is a guaranteed recipe for resentment and counter-productive behaviour.
Want to get ahead? Ensure terrible people are on your team and that you’re pals with your performance manager.
- Excessive demands on attendance and leave: If staff get marked down for being ten minutes late or require documentation to prove that they’re going to a funeral, it communicates that there’s no trust in the relationship and that their contributions aren’t valued.
- Blocking websites: Monitoring and corralling staff online is patronising and reeks of distrust. It’s also likely to get in the way of work being done when it needs to be circumnavigated.
- Not allowing mobile phones: Unless you’re a secondary school or GCHQ, a bar on mobile phones to prevent personal calls is needlessly antagonistic.
- Authoritarian email policies: Rigid policies regarding how to write and structure emails get in the way of getting things done. The solution: don’t hire staff who can’t competently write emails.
- Nabbing frequent-flyer miles and other perks: If staff have accrued Airmiles or other perks, let them keep them. While the company might save pennies on expenditure, it’ll lose pounds in goodwill.
- Excessive political correctness: It can be hard to know where to draw the line but persecuting people for using a term like ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes will leave you with an empty office.
- Rigid rules on desktop items and clothing: If the company has rules on the number of drinks containers or photos per desk, then they’re probably going too far. Equally, if they need to tell people how to dress in fine detail then they may need to find new people. Or new managers.