I recall hearing a story about a manager who was frustrated because one of his employees, a business analyst, liked to work under his desk. The manager tried to persuade him that working while seated at his desk would be a much better idea, but the employee like the solitude and privacy under the desk. Finally the manager went to his boss, a director, in frustration and said “what am I going to do?” The director answered calmly “get him a bigger desk”.
Why not let employees have it their way? Employees are sharper and more creative when they feel an appreciative emotional connection to their organization, and this connection will be strongest when the employee is able to be themselves.
Unfortunately, most companies can’t even seem to honor the differences in major groups of people. I recall working in the Information Technology (IT) group for a company in which most employees performed manual labor. In IT, the nature of our work was totally different than a manual laborer and we wanted different policies. For instance, some employees wanted to take an unpaid leave of absence periodically, and this would have worked well with our project-based work where there are natural lulls at the end of projects. But because the laborers couldn’t take a leave of absence, which would have required temporarily filling their position, HR wouldn’t let IT employees do it. We had similar issues with telecommuting, flexible work hours, etc.
Employees have different personal preferences and desire different work practices. This is even more important for the younger generations. So what if you have an employee who likes to sit under a desk and he’s a great performer? Who really cares? Employees are smart enough to tolerate differences among them. Perhaps the real problem is that the leader thinks his/her authority is being challenged?Share