You must be at your workstation ready to begin at 08:00. You must remove all vestments to your personality. Including shoes, clothing, smart phone and leave these in your locker. You must adorn a uniform and your wear an ID with your allocated number clearly visible. You must not wear any form of unapproved apparel including a coat, hat or gloves and in certain instances a watch.
You must not have any contact with the outside world whilst at your workplace, email, web browsing and phone conversations are banned unless on Company business. Drinking or eating at your desk is banned. Having a coffee when you need one is banned. Personalising your workspace is banned. Standing out in any way and not blending in is banned. Having conversations other than about work is banned. Showing any form of personality is banned.
Your working life will be orchestrated and choreographed sameness. Twelve hours at your workplace is the expected norm. With every minute of that twelve hours choreographed by a computer and PA system which sounds when you have to be at your workstation, sounds again at 08:00 when you must attend a team briefing, again at 10:00 when you are allowed to leave your workstation for a strict ten minute break then at 12:00 for a thirty minute lunch and a final ten minute break at 15:00. The end of day announcement is at 16:40 but is ignored by the management who have set expectation of a 19:30 departure at the earliest.
On a Friday the contracted end of the day is at 13:00 to make up for the long hours during the week but woe betide any employee who logs off any time before 17:00.
Modern devices that assist your productivity and help you manage and control your time are banned. No electronic personal devices, no tablets or smart phones. If your desk is not completely clear at the end of your day it will be photographed and you and your team will receive demerits. You and you alone are responsible for cleaning your desk and removal of rubbish not just from your waste bin but to a central refuse area.
Toxic work environments rely on fear, intimidation, threats and lies. Where Powerpoint becomes more important than physical delivery. Where your personality and individuality is systematically removed to the point when you have no identity left and the only thing remaining in your life is the Company. At this point you accept that this is the way things are and pension coupled with apathy lead to begrudged acceptance.
When the goodwill bank has ran dry but when goodwill becomes the norm and expectation exceeds all bounds of what is reasonable.
Where give and take means giving little and taking a lot.
Happy employees deliver a much better level of customer service and want to please. They are empowered to take ownership for issues and come up with creative and astonishing solutions to satisfy their customers.
Sad employees hide behind Powerpoint slides, never commit, never take risks and avoid responsibility.
Employees that do not feel empowered will only do the minimum they need to do.
Employees that do not feel valued do the minimum that is required.
Employees that feel threatened will not take any initiative.
Employees that are tired make mistakes.
Time spent on internal presentations and bureaucracy is time that could have been spent on saving money or satisfying customers.
The balance should be no larger than 80/20. That is 20% on Admin and 80% on the core role. When this balance shifts things will inevitably slide into decline.
About 30 years ago just before I left home my father gave me some advice which his father gave to him and I believe is still as relevant now as it was then. This advice was firstly to always have clean shoes. People notice clean shoes and first impressions are important. Secondly, good life must be lived in balance but the best and most fulfilling life is balanced three equal ways, work, family and an interest. When these three are in balance then all flourish, if one takes priority the other two suffer initially then over time the third suffers too.
For businesses to be successful this must be taken into consideration.
I’m off to rebalance my life. See you on the other side.