There’s a fine line between having a fun office filled with highly-engaged staff and treating them like children. And many firms are in danger of going over the line.
Offering workers fun activities and more freedom can be a good thing, but ultimately they’ve got to get the work done too.
What are we doing?
Fun has become a buzzword in new offices, with features like slides instead of stairs, bars in meeting rooms and the requisite table-tennis tables for breaks.
LinkedIn’s new Australian office has arcade games, while some of Google’s offices are decked out with giant dinosaurs and ball pits.
Themed days where workers are encouraged to dress up, or down, along with BBQs and games are making working life seem more like a social life.
But isn’t this a good thing?
Used correctly in offices, these can be great ideas to keep your workers happy.
And happy employees tend to be engaged and productive workers, keen to spend more time at the office.
But, what if this child-like, care-free attitude starts to spread to their working practices?
What are the effects?
Staff aren’t throwing temper tantrums just yet. But we are starting to see a move towards more juvenile behaviours, especially among younger employees.
New Millenials in the workplace are becoming known for their inability to take direct criticism and their desire for everything from their mobile phone to their working hours to be customisable to their needs.
Hire someone who has come from a ‘fun’ office and you might struggle to engage with them.
This has led to a bit of a backlash with some bosses starting to treat workers like children.
Yahoo has banned working from home, while other firms restrict access to social media. Some companies are going as far as to keep attendance records and are marking people down for being 5 minutes late.
How do we handle this change in attitudes?
The answer is simple – treat your staff like adults.
Even if they have come from a child-like office, or even straight from university, you can still treat them like adults without taking away their toys.
Allow them to have control over their work and responsibility for its quality.
Fixed goals, accountability and direct control over their workflow puts the responsibility on their shoulders to produce good work