Sick of the Status Quo: How to Change Workplace Attitudes

build bridges at workCorporate wellness is an important part of job satisfaction and productivity, but it doesn’t happen by accident. If there’s something you don’t like about your workplace, there’s a good chance that your colleagues are likewise unhappy with it, but you can make a difference.

A culture in which no one is expected to leave before 8pm doesn’t do any good to employee wellness or loyalty, but an increasing number of companies are reviewing their family-friendly policies, and you can do your bit to make sure your company follows suit. Depending on what your job is and who you work for, you may be somewhat limited in what and how much you can do to change your working culture, but everyone can try to push some changes through.

One London City firm, for example, bowed to the pressure of a severe recruitment problem, and allowed employees to work extra hours early in the week, then take a half-day on Friday. This was a welcomed step forward from many employees, even though the policy was originally designed with working parents in mind, and within two years employees who were regularly headhunted said they’d prefer to stay put.

So what can you do to change attitudes in your workplace? Try setting up a parents’ group. Your company may be willing to change, but they can’t do it unless they know what you want. A parents’ group can provide ideas on how to make a real change for working parents, you’re your needs and recommendations will appear much stronger if they are presented by a group of you than by one or two individuals. When you have a group, talk to your managers about why your group is important and what it can achieve, but make sure that you stress that having the group won’t be a threat to the company. Rather, assert it as an opportunity to improve morale and production.

You can also make your case stronger by presenting those in charge of examples of other companies that have improved productivity and retained skilled personnel because of family-friendly working practices. Look in the trade press, business sections of daily newspapers and online at organisations such as Working families, and show these success stories on notice boards so that everyone sees what can be achieved.

Finally, make sure you’re aware of your rights and know what you’re entitled to from your employer, and be positive that you can affect real change instead of wishing things could be better. Family-friendly practices work for both employees and employers, so all you have to do is keep focused, work out a strategy and then put your case forward.

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