Written by Andrei MoraruFeb 04, 2020

Picture the following scenario. You come to work one day and greet your colleagues. Only instead of a return greeting, you get an "Shhh!".

Confused?

Well, this is an actual scenario that happened to me. What was the root cause of this scenario you ask? Well, a new office rule, which stated that during a certain time of day, we were basically forced to whisper to one another in order to... Raise productivity by allowing our colleagues to focus. All of this while we had an open office.

One of the more annoying scenarios one can encounter when working in an office is the danger of useless rules. The example above is not made up, as much as it may seem, and it's one of the many times I questioned the use of certain office rules.

Listen, I get why certain rules and regulations are in place. I mean, if anyone was allowed to do and behave as they wanted, without any sort of guidelines, chaos would ensue. And yeah, chaos would ensue... In a kindergarten. But in an office full of adults, who have learned, conceivably, to master their emotions, such rules will succeed only in destroying every employee's morale.

While I understand that some people may be noisy, I also understand and abide by the idea of personal responsibility.

The rule above was put in place because it was voted by people that the number one cause for their lack of productivity was the noise in the office.

You know how many people voted for that? 4... Out of 40 at the time.

You know what a better solution for this is? Actually asking the noisy people to talk at a lower volume.

The only person responsible for finishing a task is you. Sure, some things may occur that are out of your control, but it's your job to figure out a solution for when such scenarios occur. Even if the solution is as simple as informing your manager and start working on something else. Or, in the example above, finding a way to reduce the noise so you can concentrate better.

I don't really have a problem with rules. I do have a problem with some rules that are meant to be a one-size-fits-all approach to a problem that can be easily resolved by talking. And sadly, such rules are prevalent in offices sometimes.

Restrictive, punitive company policies that irk employees hurt employee morale and productivity. The best policy is to hire the right people and give them the freedom to do their jobs well.

 

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