25 February 2020 | pacts insight | Views:

5 things your company should give up for Lent, or otherwise

Chances are, Lent means nothing to you - apart from a great excuse to chain-eat pancakes once a year.

But in the same sort of way as New Year’s Eve, it can be a good (if arbitrary) time to push the ‘reset’ button. To strive for better habits - especially if what you’re ‘giving up’ is something more meaningful than chocolate (because who would want to do that anyway? Life is cruel enough).

So it’s a good time to look at what your company could cut out. And with 1 in 5 people estimated to look for new jobs at the start of the year, it’s good timing to make things better.

Stop encouraging presenteeism: trust your staff

If you can see them, you know they’re working. Right? Well… no. Having a ‘bums on seats’ mentality is damaging for a whole load of reasons - and not just because it’s a woefully misinformed belief.

The pressure to be present - lest you seem uncommitted, or lazy, or checking out - is a significant health risk to workers. Studies show employees are increasingly feeling obligated to come in to work, despite physical or mental illness. That’s awful for their wellbeing and morale, but also means whatever work they do isn’t going to be what it should. It’s an all-round problem.

The solution? Trust your team. Don’t get finicky about your team working from home, as long as they’re getting through what they need to. Don’t punish people for stepping in at 9:05am. And don’t micromanage people’s working day - the future is flexible and competing companies will recognise that.

Stop unnecessary meetings: sometimes an email’s enough

Death by meetings. It’s a grim reality. Firstly you wait for everyone to arrive, grab a fresh cup of coffee, organise their notes, try and connect to the display screens… that’s at least ten minutes gone. Then there’s the standard chit-chat preamble, the digging out of agendas and last meeting’s actions. When you finally get the point, it’s often derailed by a disagreement that should probably be taken ‘offline’. Not totally efficient.

We’re not saying ban all meetings, but just recognise an hour of back-and-forth isn’t always necessary. Some meetings can be 10-minute chats, some can be intensive half-an-hour sessions, and some can just be… an email. Really.

Stop making pointless rules: get your priorities right

Bureaucracy is a safe refuge for people who always want to feel in control. It doesn’t mean it’s advisable to resort to micro-managing and baffling red lines though.

For a company that’s never customer-facing, does it matter if people wear jeans? Do you really need a doctor’s note for any instance of calling in sick? And rules about not having anything non-work-related on desks is harsh, considering your employees likely spend more time at work than at home (during waking hours, anyway!).

Only make and enforce rules that actually matter - whether it’s for everyone’s safety and security, or in the interest of keeping customers happy. The rest can probably be left alone.

Stop taking your team for granted: make their value known

Resentment can creep up slowly, and it can come from a lot of different places. Maybe your employee feels belittled in the boardroom, spoken over and not respected for the role they play. Maybe the endless nit-picking drives them crazy, or the rigid hours are making their home life difficult. Or maybe they feel like they’re worth more, financially or otherwise.

Finding ways to make them feel valued is essential. Regular positive feedback, tokens of appreciation from greetings cards to bonuses, and proven efforts to improve company culture - there’s options. For us, of course, one way to do that is by providing fresh, world-class coffee… but we would say that!


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