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


Final month I requested about bizarre and misguided issues your organization has finished 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/firms had been doing and determine 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 carried out the place we labored?
3) what unhealthy knock-on results may that trigger?

We had a one-room utterly open-office plan and all of us had been on telephones all day. It was already arduous to listen to candidates/purchasers 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 at any time when they made a sale, which triggered pleasure and made individuals work tougher I suppose. He then bought a gong and determined each time we recruited somebody/bought 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 now we have 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 a listing that had your entire firm (1000’s of individuals) on it and other people 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 monumental that it shut down our community.

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

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

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

3. The colour adjustments

“I as soon as spent a full three weeks of labor making minute adjustments to the workflow charts. Suppose: highlighter yellow bubbles develop into lime inexperienced, then yellow once more as a result of Susan doesn’t assume lime inexperienced is eye-catching sufficient, however then Tom suggests possibly a gentle 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 evaluation processes and enhance productiveness. My workforce determined that that meant reviewing workflow charts (good!) by making small aesthetic adjustments (mind-numbingly silly).”

4. The group track

“My supervisor determined to spice up morale (and due to this fact productiveness) by having a ‘group track.’ He excitedly advised us we had been going to sing this track at every assembly and he deliberate to rent an expert choreographer to create dance strikes for it. He needed the track to be chosen by staff, so he put out a name for nominations. I don’t assume he bought a lot of a response as a result of he repeated his demand for nominations a number of occasions. Lastly, weeks later, we bought an e-mail with 4 track 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 compelled to finish each assembly by singing alongside to the track. He was clearly anticipating us to behave like we had been doing karaoke at a bar, however as a substitute everybody appeared 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 bought out earlier than the choreographer got here and workers had been compelled to bop together with the music as properly.”

5. The obligatory 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 rest so individuals would get extra work finished … whereas additionally instituting a compulsory hour lunch break. Computer systems locked for an hour to cease individuals working by. It bought to the purpose the place individuals would eat within the automobile park, then administration despatched out emails telling individuals not to do this because it appeared 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 clients extra. These of us who really labored with clients knew that approaching them sometimes bought 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 simplest 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 similar time.

It flopped after lower than every week as a result of they tended to name for an ACN when there weren’t sufficient clients within the retailer to go round, some staff (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 completely different recyclce/compost bins within the kitchen/espresso space. To lower the period of time individuals spent strolling to the kitchen to eliminate 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 individuals didn’t at all times 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 educated by somebody who had solely labored there a couple of weeks. This was pre-cell telephones, and I labored arduous all three days. On the fourth day, the proprietor referred to as and stated she had watched all of the tapes and needed to go minute by minute with me over all the things I had finished incorrect. I stop on the spot.”

9. The assembly ban

“Our firm has gone in spite of everything 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 regularly spend 5 minutes with some ‘water cooler’ speak. However that’s not allowed. Now we have to have very particular closing dates on every agenda merchandise, and conferences could be not than 45 minutes, with a desire for 25 minutes.

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

I consider the core situation with conferences is lack of prep, and a number of conferences aren’t vital. However as a substitute now we have these inane guidelines the place individuals 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 now we have actually lengthy displays about not burning out at work, and find out how to maintain your self within the after hours, and attaining a piece life steadiness.

it’s irritating, and so they assume the brand new guidelines will assist with productiveness. Nevertheless it’s simply made us have a number of 45 minutes conferences in every week, most of which could possibly be mounted with a properly 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 numerous division heads who’re individuals 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 means 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 faculty, I labored as a clerk at an extremely poisonous household legislation agency. The managing associate 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 by way of IM solely. We had been reminded that administration may evaluation 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 laptop savvy and didn’t know find out how to monitor the IMs, so everybody had turned much more unproductive, simply over IMs. The managing associate 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 every week, the supervisor would come into my workplace and faux to ‘alter the server’ whereas she watched what everybody was doing.”

12. The malicious compliance

“I had a boss who wanted to know by way of 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 advised 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 lounge blinds, you get the purpose. Others did that too and after like 2 weeks, she stated we not must notify her except it’s going to be over quarter-hour.”




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