Are you happy in your workplace? Does it allow you to feel comfortable, to be creative, to be yourself?
Comparing a workplace to a dungeon might be a slight exaggeration, or is it? If you consider which basic freedoms you are deprived of in the workplace, it would certainly not be considered as liberal.
What is a company’s fundamental purpose?
To increase profit, perhaps to expand or diversify. Even if you are genuine and pure enough and your goal is to make a difference in the world in some way, money is a required medium to truly have impact. Most companies, in most industries, have incredibly similar goals. The medium of achieving them? People.
The more productive and efficient an employee is, the more prosperous the company becomes. It is therefore fair to deduce that if a company wishes to prosper, it needs to find methods and tools to enhance efficiency and productivity.
The current workplace structure is incredibly similar in most developed countries, especially for office jobs, such as:
- 8 hours per day – with specific designated hours
- 5 days per week
- Guidance on dress code – whether formal guidance or informal
- Designated lunch breaks
- Limitations on internet access
While each country and company unquestionably have variations, the workplace structure has failed to evolve at the same rate as our lifestyle, technology and cultures have.
In exchange for money, you are not just producing work for a company. You are told how to dress, how to act, what you should say and do; and what you should not.
While a company needs structure and organisation to run properly, most “rules” – whether written or oral – are incredibly counterintuitive and outdated. They fail to serve any real purpose a company has: to prosper in whichever form, and they seem to serve another purpose based on our most basic human flaw: the need for power, control and satisfying one’s ego.
And although attempting to control every aspect of an employee’s action is an easy way to inflate one’s ego, by thinking that it gives them power and “guaranteeing” productivity, it inevitably has the opposite effects. It erodes our spirit, weakens motivation, kills creativity and, eventually, decreases productivity.
Consequently, if a company’s main objective is to increase productivity in order to increase profits, or expand, or make a change etc., then why resort in such a desperate attempt to control people when it yields the opposite result?
So is our current workplace essentially created, structured and directed for adults of the 21st century? Do people really need so many limitations to stay disciplined and productive? Or is it, ultimately, a way to impose power and oppress?
As with most things in life, it all comes down to balance. You will never be as efficient and productive without rules, discipline and structure, but neither will you be without freedom. The line has to be balanced in the middle, if both productivity and happiness are to be achieved.
After all, you spend most of your life working. What an amazing life it would be to have the freedom to enjoy it.