Businesses are always looking for ways to motivate their staff and ensure they’re primed to become the most competitive force on the market. Occasionally this can mean taking the quest for success too far. Here are the office fads that proved most unpopular throughout 2015...
Mindfulness is a big buzzword at work. It’s a practice based on recognition, acceptance, and self-peace, but this approach, although worthy, doesn’t always translate well at work. Sasha works in PR and remembers the time her ex-boss tried to make everybody more relaxed and reflective at work.
"My ex-boss introduced compulsory 8am meditation in the office, but then her pug ate the therapist's mood-lighting battery operated 'candles' whilst everyone's eyes were shut. Not only was the therapist not best pleased, but the boss flipped thinking her dog was about to keel over, and the staff were left as stressed as ever."
Giving and receiving can be a particularly frustrating part of a job. But in our new climate of openness, feedback is seen as an important part of any job role. Workplaces are looking for new and more imaginative ways to share what employees are doing wrong or well, and one big business has alighted on using post-it notes to express how colleagues are doing.
Beth works for one of the Big Four accounting firms in Leeds which is completely paperless, with the sole exception of these feedback post-its.
"One time I came into the office with my desktop monitor just covered in feedback post-it notes. Nobody took them seriously at all. They had "What I did well" and "What I could do better" pre-written on them. Examples of feedback included: What I did well: Showed up for work on time this morning. What I could do better: Everything since. And another: What I did well: Made tea. What I could do better: THE MILK GOES IN FIRST IN YORKSHIRE YOU DUNCE."
Research has been circulating that suggests walking while having meetings can improve creative thinking and help you keep fit at the same time. Whether that’s a gentle stroll in the park to get those creative juices flowing or a fast pace by the river to chat out ideas, walking meetings could sound ideal. That is, unless you work in the middle of London.
"My boss is a very keen cyclist and hiker," says Joni, who works in digital advertising. "He alighted on the idea of walking meetings, without actually considering whether they were a good idea or not. Come rain or shine, once a month my team of four all have to follow him and traipse around the city centre which is in central London so it’s packed with tourists and crowds. He’s confident he’s being revolutionary and super imaginative, but the problem is he talks at us, expects us to keep up, but we can’t hear anything, and we spend the whole time avoiding kids or pigeons so we don’t take anything he says in. I yearn for proper, indoor meetings again."
However, in a small SME it can be tricky to implement such transformations. Phil, 27, who works for a small London marketing agency recalls: "One morning we came into work and our boss had directed all of our chairs to be taken into storage. He entered the room, beaming, and said that he’d read that standing up makes you more productive. Unfortunately he hadn’t raised our desks so we had to bend over our desks or kneel on the floor to check emails. By the end of the morning we’d all revolted and gone to get our chairs out of the storage room. It was never spoken of again."