Everyone dreams of being a part of a business environment that allows for close friendships and jovial day-to-day attitudes that invite productivity and success for the company rather than hinder it. However, there are certain boundary lines that need to be enforced in order to keep this ideal atmosphere from being simply friendly and sustainable to becoming too-close and manipulative. In a working business environment, there needs to be a level of respect and professionalism that always holds weight over anything else. Here are some ways to create a professional office environment without alienating anyone in the process.
While every business may have their own version of what workplace behavior is, whether it be friendly banter at the office or getting drinks together after work, there needs to be a modicum of professionalism that makes it clear that the dynamic at work is not really a family, but a team. Cultivating a family environment sounds cozy and idyllic, but more often than not this behavior tends to lean more towards emotional manipulation than any workplace should ever see. Employees can become too comfortable acting out or not committing themselves to their job because they think the “family” won’t mind if they slack off, or managerial positions take unfair advantage of employees who are then overworked and underpaid due to the mentality that everyone must step up for the sake of the “family.” These notions can become a dangerous sign of leniency in workplace behavior, which can inadvertently become detrimental not only to employee health but to the productivity of the company overall. Insist that the office is not a family environment but a team effort, giving employees reason to assume professionalism is still the key concept.
Meanwhile, it’s important to not let anyone’s idea of the perfect work-life balance become the ‘norm’ for everyone in the office. Some employees have their reasons for working harder than others, but there’s no acceptable reason for making anyone feel guilty or less productive for going home after their eight-hour work day when others choose to stay behind. Creating any discord amongst employees or allowing coworkers to shame others for leaving earlier than the rest, even when they’ve put in their required 40+ hours or more a week, is unacceptable and doesn’t fit the concept of a professional office environment.
When you’re looking to gain greater perspective on professionalism in the workplace, start addressing these key areas to create a more cohesive, team-oriented environment that keeps emotions out of the situation and lends itself to a more respectful, productive atmosphere for all involved.