Passing Trend or Tried and True? Workplace Policies To Consider
Every year, new workplace trends receive attention and have the potential to change the way we interact at work. Many of these stem from developments in technology and changes to the economy.As forward-thinking companies replace traditional workflows and procedures with new policies, managers must decide whether or not the latest workplace trend will benefit their own office. Implementing new office-wide policies takes time and energy, but can also bring about significant improvements to operations and productivity. While new trends will come and go each year, here are some tried and true workplace policies worth implementing if it's time for a change.
Continuous performance reviews
Major tech and professional services companies are doing away with the annual performance review in favor of continuous feedback systems. As younger generations enter the workforce, offices are increasingly made up of employees who expect consistent and direct feedback. Implementing this style of review can also help companies attract talent—many employees prefer this method to annual reviews.
For managers, this means taking the time to regularly discuss progress and career paths with their employees. Whether you decide to implement these measures monthly or quarterly, you should consider formalizing the process. More and more companies have incorporated these policies into their workplace through measures such as Adobe's "Check-In" system, where feedback is given regularly. Managers that can successfully implement this type of feedback system can create a workplace that supports employee growth and goal-oriented team members.
Tip: As you help your employees reach their professional goals, you can use a visual directory to map out available desk space that would better suit their transition to a new role and increased responsibility.
Unlimited vacation time
Work-life balance is important, and a successful company will invest in the well-being of its employees. But allowing employees to take unlimited time off sounds unreasonable for any company—after all, you need people to actually be working to run your business. However, in many cases, giving employees the freedom to roam has actually boosted productivity.
Netflix is the most notable example of this: the company announced their "all-you-can-take" paid vacation policy.
The policy fits with Netflix's workplace culture, which foregrounds low bureaucracy and high levels of trust with their employees. Since then, many other top companies, including LinkedIn and General Electric, have followed suit. From a manager's perspective, offering employees unlimited time off means less time spent coordinating vacation time and tracking requests.
As another example, Mammoth HR, a technology and consultancy company, decided to give their employees unlimited paid time off for a year. They found that over the course of the year, employees actually took the same amount of vacation days as they did within the more rigid, traditional system. And, surprisingly, when surveyed at the end of the year, employees ranked the policy as their third top-valued benefit, right after health insurance and retirement plans. Employees valued the flexibility and trust signaled by the vacation policy, even though their working hours remained the same.
Tip: Before implementing unlimited paid time off, be sure that you can anchor this policy to your workplace culture. You should communicate the expectations involved to your team, such as continued productivity, accountability and time management.
Office-wide energy saving
While values and goals differ from company to company, many innovative businesses incorporate green policies into their company-wide policies. The reasons behind this are two-fold; for starters, implementing an office-wide "green" policy is an effective way to foreground your company's social responsibility. Running an environmentally-conscious space also helps workplaces cut down on unnecessary energy costs. As more SMEs work to reduce their environmental impact, facility managers should ask how to implement these measures into their policies. For example, Ecova, a large retail store, decided to automate their air conditioning to start when the temperature reached 75 degrees, rather than 74. While this may seem like a small change, it resulted in $3,100 of savings every year.
Consider implementing policies aimed to cut-down on waste and excessive energy use. Offices can go paperless and foreground digital communication channels, such as email and Slack, in their internal communications plans. Even issuing pay through e-transfers instead of printed checks and encouraging green commuting can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Tip: For offices wanting to implement energy-saving policies, consider tracking your energy costs using office management software. Set monthly waste-reduction goals and involve key stakeholders in the process.
Workplace policies are constantly shifting, but with careful research, you can implement the trends that stand the test of time. Those that can adapt their policies thoughtfully and effectively stand to create more competitive teams and more engaged employees.
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