Linked: Our culture is great… But just don’t make any mistakes –
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Linked: Our culture is great… But just don’t make any mistakes –

You know, when I hear companies tout the performance level of their employees, I do have to wonder what sort of expectations they are setting. There isn’t a company out there, including the one I work for, that doesn’t brag about having A+ performers. So what happens when someone makes a mistake or has a C day?

Linked – Work burnout rises despite company investments in mental health
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Linked – Work burnout rises despite company investments in mental health

Yeah, remember all that took about being flexible for single parents, the diversity and inclusion projects we talked about kicking off, the efforts we were going to make on remote work to help us be more inclusive? Turns out that required some hard work we weren’t really interested in doing. They see this, they know it, and they are going to look for a place that is better. They no longer trust you.

Who will you be left with when everyone who wants better leaves for it?

Linked: When Workplace Mindfulness Training Is Worse Than Nothing
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Linked: When Workplace Mindfulness Training Is Worse Than Nothing

We’ve seen the memes. The ones about the law firm offering a lunch hour yoga class to overworked, stressed, associates who haven’t had time to even take a lunch break in months. Or the “reward” for months of 70-80 hour work weeks is free pizza. It just makes people angry because it’s a token that does nothing to actually recognize the work involved, or correct the problems that created this mess to start with.

Workplace stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues are not just something a little mindfulness can fix. Workers are waking up to the fact that it’s the company culture that is contributing to this. Offering a way for employees to help “fix” themselves might seem like a nice thing, and in many ways it is, but doing it while not making any effort to recognize the contributions managers and corporate culture make to the problem, along with a commitment to make changes, is the very definition of “too little”.

Linked: Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy.
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Linked: Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy.

Autonomy is understanding what needs to be done and having the freedom to decide the best way to get it all done. Managers can still contribute, they still set the priorities, they assist with roadblocks, and they are the ones who communicate what needs to be done, but when they start to go much further than that, employees feel that loss of autonomy, and they don’t like it.

Over the last couple of years, managers have been forced to sit back and let employees have autonomy. Much like my own experience, you can’t possibly expect employees who were successful and productive with that autonomy to just give it back for no reason.

Linked: Making workplaces better for people struggling with mental health will make work better for everyone
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Linked: Making workplaces better for people struggling with mental health will make work better for everyone

The reality is if you allow people to be flexible and get their work done in the way that makes the most sense for them, individually, they will all benefit from that decision. There won’t be a fairness issue because of some accommodation because everyone is getting the accommodation they need to do their best work.

What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what management says they want?

Linked: The Term ‘Bullying’ Doesn’t Easily Fit the Workplace
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Linked: The Term ‘Bullying’ Doesn’t Easily Fit the Workplace

It’s true, what we define as bullying among school children with no option to simply leave school doesn’t really fit when talking about the workplace, though it is the height of privilege to not recognize that many low-paid workers don’t necessarily have that same level of freedom to do so.

But, as the quote points out, it doesn’t matter what we call it, unprofessional behavior that hurts coworkers and employees has no place in the workplace: