Should You Block Facebook From Your Office Computers?


Last week I wrote about the importance of staying flexible when leading staff in today's culture. I believe a healthy culture is built with some flexibility in the system. That doesn’t mean it is a free-for-all where everyone decides when they work or don't work. There are still expectations and responsibilities, and each department supervisor is responsible for how flexibly his or her team can function.

This week, I thought I'd add a few more thoughts to round-out the topic:

  • If you have slackers on your team, you may need to provide some structure and hold them accountable to it. Sometimes they "slack" because it's their first job and they are finding "adulting" harder than they thought. They might need a loving, more experienced employer to come along side and build a bit of structure into their life.

  • If it's not their first job, you might have a true slacker on your team. He or she might have a character problem, and that's hard to fix. Give them a bit of structure so you can decide if they can be helped, or need to go work on their character on someone else's payroll. However, be careful not to categorize everyone as a slacker who doesn’t meet your expectations.

  • There are certain types (sometimes writers, graphic designers, video editors, or musicians) who can't get their work done in the chaos of an office environment. If your organization will allow, give them space to work some off-hours in order to produce their work.

  • Ask, “Are they getting their job done well?” rather than, “Were they at their desks for a certain number of hours?”

  • You may want to determine certain all-in times when everyone is present. For example, we had a team full of creatives, so very little of what they did was structured. However, twice each week they had a required fifteen- minute meeting to touch base, gather information, and connect on projects.

  • There may be certain seasons when a boss wants things to be less flexible. For example, in a recent overhaul of a certain department, we required all staff to be in the office for the same eight hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This allowed us to rebuild the relational core and strategic unity of the team while still giving them flexibility on the other days of the week.

  • Ignore the urge to block Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat from your office environment. People’s lives are much more integrated now than ever. They may shoot off a private message to a friend on social media during the day, but they will also stay remotely connected and work on office projects at night or on the weekends. If you have someone who is excessive in his or her time online, deal with that person individually. But don’t disconnect your staff from one of the best ways to stay connected to your members or customers.

I know this idea of high flexibility goes against the grain of many leaders. It is much more difficult to track and control. But organizations with great cultures and high employee satisfaction always have found a way to release flexibility while increasing productivity.

Read more in Fairness is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles to Revolutionize Your Workplace

Tim StevensComment