Abstracts in this Pattern:
Companies' implementing lenient policies can create staff loyalty, increase productivity, and ensure quality operations. Although companies usually expect employees to maintain constant productivity at work, a recent University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, Nevada), study found that cyberloafing—employees' using work-provided internet access for personal periods of slacking—costs US business about $85 billion a year. Researchers at Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona) developed software that can regulate cyberloafing rather than simply prevent it. The software classifies websites as always, sometimes, or never acceptable for employees to visit. In use at an agriculture company, the software cut cyberloafing significantly by permitting employees to visit websites unrelated to work in 10-minute intervals for a total of 90 minutes per day. By addressing cyberloafing with leniency rather than banning the activity outright, companies can avoid creating the sense that they do not trust their employees.
Nonprofit organization Coexist Foundation (Washington, DC, and London, England) recently introduced a policy that offers paid menstrual leave to employees suffering from dysmenorrhea. Menstrual leave exists in China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan but remains fairly uncommon in Western countries. The company believes this policy will give female employees greater flexibility, increase productivity, and create a more positive work environment; however, a leave policy for women suffering from dysmenorrhea could introduce practical hurdles and lead to debates about gender equality.
Some companies widen their talent pool by including workers that other companies tend to dismiss. For example, at its Long Island City, New York, plant, clothing manufacturer Brooks Brothers (New York, New York) hires and employs workers who are well into retirement age. Employing these experienced workers costs more than does hiring young workers with minimal experience or outsourcing the work to contractors outside the United States, but the company believes that the benefits its senior employees provide justify the cost. Although machines play an important role in production, some tasks still require human hands, and the company found that experienced tailors work quickly and deliver consistent quality. The company's age-lenient hiring policy supports intergenerational interaction, creates a skilled and flexible workforce, and offers older workers the opportunity to supplement their retirement income.
The Development of this Pattern
Researchers at Arizona State University developed software that can regulate cyberloafing rather than simply prevent it.
Nonprofit organization Coexist Foundation recently introduced a policy that offers paid menstrual leave to employees suffering from dysmenorrhea.
At its Long Island City, New York, plant, clothing manufacturer Brooks Brothers hires and employs workers who are well into retirement age.
Lenient HR Policies
Companies hope to encourage productivity by introducing human-resources (HR) policies that offer employees more freedom.
- P0043 — Incentives and Rewards in the Workplace (April 2010)
Human-resources practitioners spend their work life finding the right mix of incentives and rewards to foster a productive work environment. Surprisingly, some factors in workplace productivity are counterintuitive; others are underused.
- P0137 — Work as a Spa (December 2010)
Managers and human-resources practitioners are beginning to recognize that workplace environments embedding elements of relaxation and leisure can increase productivity by facilitating creativity and innovation.
- SoC496 — Human(e) Workplaces (March 2011)
Practitioners have worked on more productive and creative work environments for decades, but a direct link between individual job satisfaction and bottom-line results has been elusive. A better understanding is emerging, leading to novel approaches in corporate environments.
- P0293 — Motivating Labor, Labor Motivations (January 2012)
Keeping employees motivated is key for organizational success. Harnessing motivation productively, though, is a multifaceted task.
- P0556 — What Makes an Effective Worker? (November 2013)
Companies are changing their practices and policies to improve employee productivity.
- P0652 — Holistic HR (July 2014)
Companies can benefit by thinking more holistically about recruitment, management, and work practices; holistic human-resource (HR) management addresses the needs of both individuals and teams.
- P0744 — The Perfect Team (February 2015)
New research provides a wealth of information that could help companies build productive and creative teams.