What lines should not be crossed in a casual work set up?
Gone are the days where work was just a nine to five job. Gone are the days when a suit and tie was appropriate office attire. Gone are the days where one had to achieve work-life balance. This is the era of work-life integration, wearing jeans and t-shirts to office and a casual work culture.
A casual work set up or work culture sees comfort of the people above all else. It is believed that comfort will lead to loyalty, which will lead to an increase in efficiency and productivity. A casual work culture has no rules… this is the biggest myth of all. While there are no hard and fast rules like the previous corporate era, there still are a few lines that one should not cross in a casual work set up.
- The very first thing that draws attention when a casual work set up is mentioned is DRESS CODE. Yes, you do not have to be dressed formally. Yes, dressing to comfort is the new norm. However, that does not mean one can come in track pants and sweat shirts. Even though the dress code says casual, everyone is expected to dress appropriately. There can always be Client meetings or office inspections and we should always be ready to accommodate them. Dressing well, even though casually, helps the individual to work better too as it boosts confidence and resets the mind to start work afresh.
- In a casual work set up, the rules are very few and mostly mistaken to be unimportant. However, it is a place where people work together and rules are meant to be respected and adhered to, no matter what the company culture is.
- A casual work place does not have Sir and Ma’am in their vocabulary. However, there definitely exists hierarchical positions that have to be respected and followed structurally. The relationship between superiors and juniors may be like that of friends but do not try to take advantage of that. It will result in a rift in the relationship and it will affect productivity and morale. So do not disregard established hierarchy and professional courtesy in a casual work set up.
- The company will give you full liberty to use kitchen supplies, stationery items, even your laptops will have no usage restrictions. So use freely but carefully. Just because it is given to you doesn’t mean that you use and abuse. Be considerate when you make tea for yourself and others. Make sure you clean up after yourself once you’re done being the kitchen queen. Your laptop, albeit is company laptop, still care for it like it’s your own. Handle with care however butch it appears to be. Be mindful of the liberty given to you.
- Companies nowadays focus on building healthy relationships at work. So, go ahead and build bonds with everyone. But remember, however close a bond you have built, they still are people . When it comes to work and maybe even otherwise, remember to be courteous and civil. Do not forget that you are at a professional workspace and behave accordingly. Maintaining hygiene in communal areas is very important. It is healthy even. Remember your manners, discipline, and basic etiquette and use it judiciously. This won’t bring harm to the bonds and relationships that you establish. It will only be enhanced.
You need to be most comfortable at the workspace to be able to be your best at work. However, at the same time you should always remember that others around you should be comfortable too. There are no big rules for conduct and harsh punishments for not adhering to code. Most of the things that are mentioned above are usually unsaid rules that are expected to be followed, as it is basic common sense. In this time of work life integration and a casual work culture, let us all strive to make everyone comfortable at work and excel together. The above points may also prove to be useful in building better relationships when you get back to working together in your workspace.