From Maccas not offering loo breaks, through to CEOs falling like flies – the world of work seems to be under more intense scrutiny than ever. Is a good thing for our workplaces? Or are just setting ourselves up for more intense regulation that won’t be followed.
What’s going on?
Firstly, the significant decision enshrining the right to have toilet and drink breaks. (Who knew such a thing needed to be enshrined in law?) And, the CEO who fell foul of his own code of conduct.
One reading of the tea leaves is that the world of work is being even more highly regulated. We know that Australia already has a complicated and highly regulated workplace relations system. These sorts of decisions may lead you to wonder if this is getting even more complicated?
Or is there perhaps another way to interpret all this?
If feels like, instead of regulation, that perhaps the corporate world is waking up? Understanding that the way to get the best out of people is to treat them with respect and a little bit of genuine care?
Instead of treating employees as widgets (Maccas I am looking at you), or as underlings with whom you can treat in anyway that suits your purposes, whether that be considered appropriate in the workplace or not, perhaps the corporate world is now beginning to understand that health and safety is not just about not being killed or physically injured at work (God forbid).
Perhaps it is understanding that employees have a need to be safe and comfortable. By safe I mean that your boss doesn’t try to lure you into bed against your wishes. And by comfortable I mean that you’re able to access the most basic of human biological needs as needed.
But what about…
There will be those that say that this sort of regulation only makes it easier for those that take the proverbial to continue to do so.
There will be stories trotted out.
Stories of the person who goes to the loo on the hour, every hour for 15 minutes at a time.
The stories of the female employee who made up a claim when the relationship went sour. Or who just a bit too “sensitive”.
They will say that the world has gone mad.
Here’s what I think
There will always be those employees who take the piss. It’s our job as leaders and managers to manage those people (something we don’t usually like to do).
But for the rest of the workforce; the ones that by and large do the right thing every day – it’s not unreasonable to expect that in a supposedly civilised society, that we treat our employees as we indeed expect to be treated. Who knows, they may even work harder! Do more! Be more productive.
Sounds like a win win to me.
If the world watching how you treat your employees in the workplace is making you uncomfortable, perhaps that says that there are aspects of your workplace that need attending (again – here’s looking at your Maccas).
Regulation happens when society more generally accepts a new norm/baseline or standard. We shouldn’t be afraid of that. Or reject it as big brother, but rather see that hopefully we are moving forward.
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