Dumb Culture Stuff to Stop Doing Now in 2021 and Beyond .

At Belongify, we want to make a work prediction, and it’s about what many more working people will intentionally NOT do, or stop doing this year. At unprecedented levels, people with any reasonable level of choice, will say NO to doing work that does not personally feel meaningful and purposeful.

We do not want this statement to come across as aloof, exclusive to knowledge workers, or tone-deaf to the reality of severe unemployment issues. However, lots of people will be taking more stock of their life/work situation.

Our current environment has taught us many lessons. One of them is a poignant reminder of what is really important to each of us at work. As an example, having a job requiring unnecessary hours of wasteful commuting to and from work is going to become unreasonable regardless of management dictums and compensation. Waste of time/effort just won’t be worth it to many.

Also, working in a toxic organization culture and/or for a crummy leader is going to get more scrutiny. One of our old bosses used to say the longest two weeks in the world were between pay periods if you were miserable at work. Life and time are too precious. This has always been true, and over the last year, we have ALL seen how fast the world can redefine literally everything. We will not cling to or put up with crap. 

People at work, regardless of generation and especially Millennials and Gen Zs, are becoming more discerning and willing to both speak out and act on their feelings.

They want to work for an organization that advances humankind.

They expect social justice, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And now, amplified by the painful consequences of a pandemic, they appreciate the importance of BELONGING! They want to be able to be their genuine selves, ask for and get authentic help, contribute and make a difference, while feeling trusted and welcome at work (and everywhere).

By the way, remote working can provide this desirable work experience. It takes imagination and new mindsets. 

We’re well aware we all need to make money for the basics in life, and hopefully a little more. However, what many of us WILL NOT do in 2021 is to put up with lousy workplaces and leaders.

Yes, we need to be personally self-accountable as employees, and bring our imperfect best to work most days. Furthermore, we can’t expect leaders and organizations to be perfect either. However, if we have little or no space to change ourselves for the better, how can we stay in a work environment that suffocates and denigrates us? 

2020 was haunted by the phrase, “I CAN’T BREATHE.” We hope 2021 becomes invigorated by a sense of “DEEP FRESH AIR,” that most welcome breath that comes from the freedom to be one’s true self, unafraid, and making a difference while being embraced by others in a circle of true BELONGING

DUMB CULTURE THINGS TO CONSIDER TURNING DOWN: 

  1. 9 to 5.
  2. Work as a place.
  3. Sameness.
  4. Lagging technology.
  5. Painful processes.
  6. Bureaucratic performance reviews & ratings.
  7. Performance management.
  8. Unnecessary dress codes.
  9. Rules and policies that treat us like children.
  10. Non-value hierarchy/status.

What About Travel? 

While we were thinking about the personal challenges throughout our careers. Long hours away from family was probably the most daunting. The last 18 months have confirmed, for many of us, that we can challenge numerous workplace assumptions. One of those is, who has to travel? When? 

Leaders, please use this time to seriously challenge your travel policy. The high costs of travel to the operating model are one thing. However, the human cost is far greater for many. We realize that some people love to live on a plane. In most cases, it becomes a learned, unquestioned “necessity.”

As we move forward into the post-pandemic workplace, let’s not drag back every piece of cultural debris with us. It’s an opportunity to “house clean,” and sweep out the crummy things we’ve often accepted as “just the way it is.” Who really has to travel is part of this reconsideration, along with revisiting when in-person meetings are really necessary. Frankly, there are many more opportunities. Taking small steps like this will make our workplaces a little more human, and a little more accommodating to parenthood and work integrating with the unique personal lives of the people who make the business run. 

Let’s Give Meetings a Kick in the Pants!

Many details about daily work have been under reconsideration. Perhaps meetings should be in the crosshairs for review as well. Why? So many meetings just plain suck. Too often, they have no clear purpose, a poor process, and few meaningful outcomes. Unfortunately, the prime benefactor is mostly the meeting convenor. (Usually, the boss). 

The meeting can be considered a relic of industrial management. Ask yourself how much value is being created by having each one you’re involved in? If the easy answer is “lots of value,” by all means, keep participating in them. When they are highly productive, participants know the purpose of the gathering, what they’re going to do to meet objectives and then commit to doing so. This includes follow-up and learning. Do they need to be synchronous? Is personal attendance really necessary? Does every meeting need to be in one-hour increments? Should all be recorded? Documented?

Please move forward with a healthy review of all meetings. If you look at your calendar and spend more than 25 percent of your time in meetings involving more than three people, you may be stuck in meeting quicksand.

Time to kick all your meetings in the pants, and see what happens. Meetings, as we often currently conduct them, are calendar activities more than value-producing processes. Kick ’em in the pants again.

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