It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and here in America that means a ridiculous excess of green beer and a lot of inappropriate pinching. Believe it or not, though, St. Patrick’s Day is about a lot more than green garments and public intoxication. March 17 is the traditional date of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and one of its most important religious and cultural figures. According to legend, the reason Ireland has no snakes is because St. Patrick banished them all.
That’s certainly cause for a holiday. After all, no one likes snakes. They’re poisonous, and if you leave one lying around, it’s likely to come back and bite you. This year, for St. Patrick’s Day, instead of wearing that tacky shamrock tie to work or getting way too drunk, celebrate by banishing a few “snakes” from your business. Hopefully, your office isn’t actually overrun by venomous reptiles, but chances are you’re leaving some poisonous business practices laying around, just waiting for their chance to bite you. Here are a few of the common “snakes” that modern business owners should chase away this year in honor of St. Patrick.
Obviously, proper workplace attire is important in any professional environment. That being said, requiring your employees who will never interact with a customer to wear a suit and tie to work every day is just overkill. It makes your employees less comfortable, it makes their morning preparation take longer, and it does absolutely nothing to improve your workplace or your employees’ productivity. As long as no one on your team is wearing anything inappropriate or dressing too informally for the occasion, relaxing your dress code goes a long way toward creating a happier, smoother office.
Excessive Cost Containment
Being smart with your money is the key to operating a successful company. It’s easy, though, to let thriftiness go too far and actually hurt your business. Eliminating waste is absolutely essential, but cutting corners to the point that it interferes with your day-to-day operations or your growth potential could be the death knell for your business. As the old saying goes, “you have to spend money to make money.” Refusing to do the former could prevent you from doing the latter.
Inappropriate Use of Technology
It’s 2016, and there is absolutely no reason to use a fax machine for any purpose. Thanks to e-mail, we can send and receive files of every type instantly. Continuing to use outmoded technology just hampers your effectiveness and is a huge inconvenience to your more tech-savvy customers and clients. On the other hand, just because technology exists doesn’t mean that it is necessary. Yes, videoconferencing can be extremely useful in the right situation, but oftentimes it serves no practical purpose. If you need to show your employees a graphic, e-mail them the PowerPoint. Insisting on a video conference when it’s not needed just slows down productivity, uproots your employees from their desks, and doesn’t really help you in any way. It’s important to embrace modern technology, but only when it actually provides tangible benefits.
Sometimes, when it comes to management, less is more. It’s only right that you expect your employees to perform, but it’s easy to get so caught up on process that you ignore the results. Companies have a tndency to over-monitor every aspect of their employees’ work day, from break time to internet usage. If an employee is performing admirably and getting their work done, does it really matter if they spend 20 minutes a day reading blogs on their computer? Is it really necessary to clock break time down to the second? As long as performance metrics are being met, how your employees get there isn’t really important. By micromanaging every aspect of their day, you are just showing your employees that you don’t trust them to behave properly. Fostering a trusting, cooperative work environment is a much better strategy for success.
By chasing away these proverbial “snakes”, you can improve your company’s culture, performance, and workplace morale. And who knows, maybe your team will appreciate it so much that they name a holiday after you.