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the gong, the lacking reply-all button, and different bizarre issues corporations thought would enhance productiveness — Ask a Supervisor


Final month I requested about bizarre and misguided issues your organization has performed within the title of boosting productiveness. Listed here are 12 of my favourite tales you shared.

1. The gong

“I had a boss (one in every of THREE CEOs at a tiny firm) do a number of studying on what different CEOs/corporations had been doing and resolve that he ought to implement it with out giving a lot thought to:
1) was it good within the first place?
2) does it make any sense for that factor to be applied the place we labored?
3) what unhealthy knock-on results may that trigger?

We had a one-room fully open-office plan and all of us had been on telephones all day. It was already arduous to listen to candidates/shoppers with everybody speaking on a regular basis, however CEO had learn {that a} gross sales firm someplace had a gong within the workplace and so they banged it every time they made a sale, which brought about pleasure and made folks work tougher I assume. He then bought a gong and determined each time we recruited somebody/received a recruitment deal, we needed to come over and bang the gong, so all day lengthy:

‘Hello is that this Jane Sm-‘ *GONG*
‘Sorry. Is that this Jane Smith? I got here throughout your resum—’ *GONG*
‘Sorry. I got here throughout your resume and thought you’d be a fantastic match for a place we have now opening in finan–’ *GONG*

and so forth. It didn’t final lengthy however was terrible whereas it did!”

2. The lacking reply-all button

“After a reply-allpocalypse, they eliminated the reply-all button altogether from Outlook.

Somebody fairly junior at a subcontractor despatched an e-mail to an inventory that had the whole firm (hundreds of individuals) on it and folks had been in a position to reply to that listing with all of the usuals: why am I on this? This wasn’t meant for me. Please take away me. Cease replying all. The quantity was so huge that it shut down our community.

The CEO was actually mad and he had IT actually take away the button for reply all. Regardless that clearly this was an IT downside — that listing shouldn’t have existed unrestricted and they need to have been in a position to shut down the listing/replies straight away!

Individuals freaked out concerning the lack of reply-all after which they began a job power for workers to give you new concepts to forestall one other reply-allpocalypse. All regular stuff like restricted entry to massive lists and I believe there was additionally a warning/affirmation when you had been replying all to a gaggle bigger than 8. And most significantly, IT applied controls on their finish.

It hasn’t occurred once more. A lot to my disappointment as a result of I like a very good reply-allpocalypse.”

3. The colour modifications

“I as soon as spent a full three weeks of labor making minute modifications to the workflow charts. Assume: highlighter yellow bubbles turn out to be lime inexperienced, then yellow once more as a result of Susan doesn’t suppose lime inexperienced is eye-catching sufficient, however then Tom suggests possibly a comfortable shade of maroon? However then Paula says that maroon offers her a headache, so what about lilac? Advert nauseam.

This was all speculated to be a part of an organizational push to overview processes and improve productiveness. My workforce determined that that meant reviewing workflow charts (good!) by making small aesthetic modifications (mind-numbingly silly).”

4. The group tune

“My supervisor determined to spice up morale (and subsequently productiveness) by having a ‘group tune.’ He excitedly informed us we had been going to sing this tune at every assembly and he deliberate to rent knowledgeable choreographer to create dance strikes for it. He needed the tune to be chosen by workers, so he put out a name for nominations. I don’t suppose he received a lot of a response as a result of he repeated his demand for nominations a number of instances. Lastly, weeks later, we received an e-mail with 4 tune choices we may vote on. If I recall accurately, they had been ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ ‘Nation Roads,’ ‘Get Fortunate,’ and ‘Don’t Cease Believing.’ Journey gained and we had been then pressured to finish each assembly by singing alongside to the tune. He was clearly anticipating us to behave like we had been doing karaoke at a bar, however as an alternative everybody regarded on the ground and mumbled together with the phrases awkwardly. I labored there for six extra months and needed to undergo that awkward expertise at EVERY assembly till I left. I’m simply glad I received out earlier than the choreographer got here and workers had been pressured to bounce together with the music as effectively.”

5. The necessary lunch

“The monetary group I labored for again within the late 00s painted all of the windowless break rooms pink and burnt orange on the recommendation of some habits specialist, and took out the snug furnishings in there to discourage leisure so folks would get extra work performed … whereas additionally instituting a compulsory hour lunch break. Computer systems locked for an hour to cease folks working by. It received to the purpose the place folks would eat within the automobile park, then administration despatched out emails telling folks not to do this because it regarded messy, so we’d all roam the close by streets. We had been in a bizarre industrial property that had no meals or espresso choices inside a 30-minute drive, I don’t know why we couldn’t simply have padded chairs and regular partitions.”

6. The aggressive gross sales

“One retailer I labored at determined that we’d promote extra if we approached prospects extra. These of us who truly labored with prospects knew that approaching them usually received you blown off or worse, and those who needed/wanted assist would come to you.

Administration, who by no means listened to the ground employees anyway, determined one of the best ways to perform this was to get on the loudspeaker and order the ground employees to ‘carry out an ACN now.’ ACN = Method Buyer Now so it was a silly acronym and redundant all on the identical time.

It flopped after lower than per week as a result of they tended to name for an ACN when there weren’t sufficient prospects within the retailer to go round, some workers (like me) refused to do it, and the purchasers caught on fairly quick when this announcement got here on and each worker on the ground began swarming after them and so they’d hustle for the closest exit.”

7. The rubbish cans

“We had a big rubbish can and totally different recyclce/compost bins within the kitchen/espresso space. To lower the period of time folks spent strolling to the kitchen to get rid of their trash, rubbish cans and recycle compost bins had been positioned in each hallway often close to the elevators. As quickly as you stepped out, your nostril was hit with the scent of rubbish as a result of they weren’t emptied out every single day. Carpets had been stained from leaking cups and containers as a result of folks didn’t all the time rinse them out as a result of it meant a visit to the kitchen … however we had been a lot extra productive.”

8. The video monitoring

“For 3 days in highschool I labored at a greeting card store. I by no means noticed the proprietor, and was skilled by somebody who had solely labored there just a few weeks. This was pre-cell telephones, and I labored arduous all three days. On the fourth day, the proprietor known as and stated she had watched all of the tapes and needed to go minute by minute with me over all the pieces I had performed improper. I give up on the spot.”

9. The assembly ban

“Our firm has gone in any case conferences after an worker survey has like 60% of individuals thought we had too many conferences. Nobody requested which conferences, or the place they had been positioned, simply ALL conferences.

As a hybrid workforce, we frequently spend 5 minutes with some ‘water cooler’ speak. However that’s now not allowed. Now we have to have very particular cut-off dates on every agenda merchandise, and conferences might be now not than 45 minutes, with a choice for 25 minutes.

Effectively, actually NO one in management follows that. Administrators and above commonly schedule conferences with no agenda, they go over, and customarily waste time.

I imagine the core situation with conferences is lack of prep, and a number of conferences aren’t crucial. However as an alternative we have now these inane guidelines the place persons are getting yelled at (like they’re asking for proof {that a} catch-all assembly I generally have with a coworker I work very carefully with has an agenda) for not following instructions, when it’s not being modeled by management.

However we have now actually lengthy displays about not burning out at work, and methods to care for your self within the after hours, and attaining a piece life steadiness.

it’s irritating, and so they suppose the brand new guidelines will assist with productiveness. However it’s simply made us have a number of 45 minutes conferences in per week, most of which could possibly be mounted with a effectively worded e-mail and a 30 minute assembly.”

10. The initiatives

“My office retains asserting these ‘initiatives’ to supposedly encourage us to be extra productive. They arrive from varied division heads who’re folks I’ve by no means met or seen. The dumbest was the ‘dance your pants off’ initiative that featured emails from these division heads that I’ve seen or met with badly photo-shopped footage of their heads placed on the our bodies of clip artwork ballerinas. (There have been matching posters within the workplace.) We had been going to ‘dance, dance, dance our method into closing extra instances’ and processing extra transactions and letters. I actually don’t know the way it turned out. The present one is the ‘chipping away at our mountain of stock’ initiative by which we’re going to use our ‘picks’ to chip away at and mine issues to get ‘gems’ and get rid of the mountains. Each week we get an e-mail that claims we’ve added extra gems to one thing. They actually don’t encourage me and so they actually don’t even make sense.”

11. The speaking ban

“After legislation college, I labored as a clerk at an extremely poisonous household legislation agency. The managing accomplice introduced in his spouse as our ‘workplace supervisor/HR/supervisor’ who determined that strolling one foot to your neighbor’s cubicle or asking them a query out loud ‘led to an excessive amount of socializing,’ which was clearly affecting our productiveness. Enter the IM solely rule – fairly actually, nobody was supposed to speak except it was an emergency and all communications between workers needed to be through IM solely. We had been reminded that administration may overview IMs always and to maintain conversations ‘transient and solely about work-related issues’ (that was a direct quote). Funnily sufficient, although, that supervisor wasn’t that pc savvy and didn’t know methods to monitor the IMs, so everybody had turned much more unproductive, simply over IMs. The managing accomplice had no concept why everybody was so quiet till he tried to ask a paralegal a query and he or she would solely reply him over IMs. Man, that place was loopy. We additionally had cameras within the workplace, however you can solely monitor them over a pc, which was positioned in my workplace(?) At the very least as soon as per week, the supervisor would come into my workplace and fake to ‘regulate the server’ whereas she watched what everybody was doing.”

12. The malicious compliance

“I had a boss who wanted to know through e-mail each. single. time. we stepped away from our computer systems (we had been all totally distant). So I made a decision to conform 100% together with her request.

I informed her once I’m utilizing the restroom, that I needed to put cream in my espresso, that I’m going to placed on a sweater bcuz I’m chilly, I’m about to open my front room blinds, you get the purpose. Others did that too and after like 2 weeks, she stated we now not need to notify her except it’s going to be over quarter-hour.”

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