10 Outdated Workplace Practices to Get Rid Off

Izza A.

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You want your workplace to be welcoming and enjoyable. You want it to encourage team loyalty and camaraderie. That’s why creating a great workplace culture is essential. It helps to build the qualities that you want your business to have, ensuring your employees are happy and successful, and also that work is efficient and well-delivered.

It can be easy for new businesses to pick up on modern workplace trends and implement them when they’re just starting out. However, for established businesses, the proverb, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” tends to ring true.

There are a number of workplace practices that were once fairly commonplace for one reason or another. While they may have served a purpose in the past, these practices are outdated and tend to work against building a great workplace culture now.

If you own or run a business, here are 10 outdated workplace practices that you will want to get rid of:

1. Very formal dress codes

When you imagine an office from the 80s or 90s, most likely you picture a bunch of men and women in suits and pantsuits. This was the common formal dress code of business after business. Suits and ties were required. They were considered professional looking and employers, as well as customers, expected to see them.

Today, casual dress is becoming more and more common in the workplace. Allowing team members to be comfortable and show off a bit of personal style in their clothing helps immensely in the mentality of employees, as well as their enjoyment of their job.

2. Refusing work-from-home

It used to be that all employees were expected to show up at the office everyday to do their job. Work had to be carried out from behind the desk. While there may be certain tasks that absolutely must be done at the office, a good deal of the time it’s simply an arbitrary standard to insist that team members work from their desks.

In fact, allowing employees to do their work from home has a number of surprising benefits for the business. It saves the business time and money, and it also helps to ensure that team members are happier and more fulfilled. Providing them with the freedom to get their work done as well as to meet their life’s demands, evidently helps them to work more efficiently.

3. Strict schedules

The strict schedule is definitely a thing of the past. Requiring employees to arrive at a certain time when it is unnecessary, to take breaks at specified intervals, and to not leave (or to have to leave) at a specific time, is a rule behind the times, causes dissatisfaction in employees, and makes the business less productive and therefore, less profitable.

Those who don’t experience the freedom of a more flexible schedule end up doing less work, and being less careful in the work that they do. They become clock-watchers, only working between certain hours and always focused on when they can call it a day.

4. Ranking of employees

If you’re still ranking employees from best to worst or comparing them with one another, you’re creating a toxic work environment. Not only is it not a motivating factor, it actually tends to demoralise employees and causes them to do a worse job.

Instead of creating tension, you would want to create camaraderie and encourage your employees to function as a team and collaborate together. When they’re pitted against each other as competitors, there is no team being built, there is only competition.

5. No personal activity

The idea that the workplace is solely for work and no personal activity during work hours, is frankly just hogwash. In fact, evidence shows that when people are not strictly forced to work consistently throughout the day, but are instead allowed the freedom to have a conversation, take a walk, or check their social media, they are happier and more fruitful in their job. 

Remove the idea that work time should only be for work. Balance can be achieved by using proven methods such as the Pomodoro technique of working and catching quick but short breaks in between. See the employee as a person who needs a little breathing time in order to reset themselves and do their best work.

6. Ultimate authority/ hierarchy

Hierarchy is the concept that the boss has ultimate authority, that everything they say must be followed blindly, and that a manager should basically bark orders at their employees. This is a terribly outdated idea that should be completely done away with in all areas of life.

A forward-moving workplace with a culture that grows and nurtures people allows for all team members to have a voice in things. While management still oversees and ensures that goals are met, they work together with their employees to develop processes and tasks that will help them meet those goals.

When employees are listened to and have their ideas considered, they’ll know that they are respected and valued members of the team.

7. Making the office solely a workplace

The idea that the office must be a workplace and a workplace only is defunct and makes employees dread going to work each day. Frankly, there’s no reason for it. There are a number of personalised items or settings that employers can add to the office to make it more comfortable, enjoyable, and to give employees ways to relax during their day.

Get creative with your office space and include things that make your employees want to be there. In this case, even something as simple as providing good quality office chairs, starting a reading corner or growing some greenery could go a long way.

8. Annual reviews

Annual reviews don’t really serve their intended purpose. They are time-consuming and tedious for everyone involved, and not many good outcomes are successfully discussed. A lot happens within the course of a year, and reviewing things annually doesn’t really provide the opportunity for relevant feedback or realistic goal-setting.

Instead of annual reviews, have frequent, less formal conversations with employees. Discuss their current productivity, what they should be focusing on, and provide lots of constructive feedback. This will keep them motivated, keep conversations relevant, and will actually produce results.

9. Implementation without consideration or feedback

One of the worst management practices is to come up with a new regulation or requirement and implement it without any discussion with the team. Not only do the people in the trenches often have great insights and experience, but discussion can lead to buy-in. If employees buy-in new requirements, they will do a much better job staying accountable to them.

The difference in attitude and work ethic between someone who was involved in creating a task and someone who was simply told they have to do it, is huge. Stop requiring tasks without first discussing them with your employees and you will see greater follow-through and efficiency.

10. Fixed work hours

Working 9-5 is over. Gone. Long gone.

Businesses that still require these long, fixed work hours are not only selling their employees short, they’re also keeping their business in the past. Progressive companies are moving to allow employees free-flowing hours. For all you know, your clients may be doing business early in the morning at 8 am or late into the night at 10 pm. They check their social media messages right out of bed, followed by having video conferences from their pool on a Sunday.

If you want your business to be relevant, competitive, and successful, you need to get rid of fixed work hours.

Modernise your workplace and create a great work culture

By doing away with outdated workplace practices, you can start modernising your workplace by creating a positive work culture and introducing digital tools. A great HR digitalisation tool like altHR will help you do just that by streamlining your business to work efficiently, with all processes managed and accessed in one simple location.

Connect, engage, take care of payroll and expenses, and keep your team productive by digitalising your HR processes today.

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