I’ll be starting a new consulting project soon and with any new role you have to adjust to the company’s and management’s “rules”. Rules are of course necessary, but some of them, while typically put in place to create structure and a happy work environment, are not always in the best interest of your employees.
It’s hard to disagree that dress codes are needed. While I enjoy the mini skirts and flip flops as much as the next bloke, they can be quite distracting and do not portray a professional image. Rules to keep people’s comfort level in an acceptable state are necessary, expected, and should not be challenged.
Rules however that interfere with an individual’s natural work behavior should be constantly reviewed and revised. For example; ‘no personal items on your desk’ is a bit of a hard core rule that many can find disheartening. I understand the idea of not having distractions, but a picture of the family, to give you solace during a stressful day, is hardly that.
The other guideline that is of questionable usefulness ‘No eating at your desk’. Like many workers I know, I prefer to grab a quick bite, and bring it back to my desk to eat while I check over some mundane tasks like email responses. This to me is counter productive to my day.
Which resolves to the larger point. If your workers are ingrained in their behaviors, let them stay that way so as not to disrupt their natural mindset. People are naturally hesitant to change, so why would you introduce new behaviors into their regimen? The consequence is having workers who become too focused on mundane behavioral correction and ignore the larger issues – the ones that actually make your business money. More freedom in the work place leads to more productive and happy workers.