There seem to be a lot of ancient corporate ideas hanging around the workplace. Some leaders are clinging on to tradition for dear life, while others are tossing it all out and determining a new plan. Instead of doing something because that’s the way it’s always been done, what about innovating, evolving, striking a balance and getting comfortable… I’ll explain that part later.
Phil Libin (@PLibin), CEO of Evernote has been a pioneer in this movement to move past the traditional corporate culture, and focus on crafting a unique employee-based culture. It’s not for everyone, but that’s the whole point; figuring out what works for your company’s vision and goals. Libin protects Evernote’s company culture by eliminating any attitude or processes that contribute to a rigid or creatively stifling corporate culture.
"There are the encroaching forces of corporate bureaucracy that have to be actively beaten back, but it is possible to do it. You have to be very intentional about it. I've done a bunch of things over the past year in that vein. And I'm sure more will come." - Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote
Libin is changing the way people look at corporate culture and opening leaders up to a world of possibilities. Again, this isn’t for everyone and every organization, but the point is to look at our cultures and processes in a new light. What can go, what can stay, what needs to go, what are we lacking? The most important question to ask - Is there a better way?
9-5 or else.
An online study of over 1,000 working adults nationwide revealed 42% of participants were willing to give up some percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work. Workplace flexibility is the new raise, the most sought after perk and there really isn’t any reason not to get on the bandwagon. You don’t have to go all out, sometimes being flexible with start and end times and lunch breaks is enough to make a difference. It’s about the work done, not the time spent. If this means tightening up your performance management, well that’s something that should happen anyhow, right?
Break takers are lazy.
It’s this archaic, unwritten rule in corporate cultures that taking breaks makes you look disengaged and lazy. This rigidity makes employees feel judged, so they end up glued to their desks and rapidly losing steam. In fact, 66% of American workers skip lunch to meet workplace demands. By 3 o’clock you can all but guarantee they’re checked out, and probably working at a fraction of their potential. Encourage breaks; maybe even make them mandatory. Breaks have been proven to increase productivity, so there’s no reason to continue on in a culture that discourages them.
The less comfortable you are, the more productive you’ll be.
Gallup revealed just how long the average workweek has gotten. Adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. Then there is prep and drive time to consider. Employees dedicate an immense amount of time to work, why not give them the chance to get comfortable? Encourage employees to modify their environment and work wear (when acceptable). A space heater, a more comfortable chair, a day in comfy clothes - it’s the small things that can be very satisfying.
Adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week.
In the end, every change is going to depend on whether or not it makes the most business sense. Unlimited vacations, personal internet use, work from home options –there are a lot of opportunities to figure out what works. There is, in fact, a healthy balance between satisfied and productive employees. Finding that sweet spot might take some trial and error, but isn’t that better than ignoring a squeaky wheel simply because it has always squeaked?
“Take the time to remind your employees that what counts is the bottom line--the amount of work that gets done in a given day. You can work 9 to 5 in a suit and tie in a stuffy cubicle, skip your lunch break and stay heads-down, and still get less done than someone who comes in at 9:30, takes several breaks, dresses casually, and communicates with his/her coworkers often. Productivity isn't about following the rules strictly, it's about creating an environment where you can do your best.” - Chris O’Brian (@OBrian), Author