When a business stops trying to control their employees, the employees begin to feel free at work. This freedom will allow them to feel more comfortable and happy.
Let’s say you have 50 employees who each have 100 Facebook and 100 Twitter friends. That’s 10,000 people that your employees are interacting with. They are talking about you to their friends.
What are they really saying?
You should be encouraging your employees to talk about their company, but never force them to use social media. Your employees will share the company's story with their friends when you treat your employees like the superstars that they are.
This is where freedom comes in. If your people feel that they are free to do what is best for them and the company, they will use this freedom to make both themselves and the company happy.
It's this happiness that flows into the rest of their conversations.
Some employees will always rebel against their employer. They will feel stifled working for someone else. This is a small percentage. The majority of the people will compare their freedoms with their friends. If they can leave work to watch their daughter in a school play on a Wednesday afternoon, they will feel lucky. If they don’t have to ask the boss for permission to do so, they will feel trusted.
They will also be more willing to think about work while in the shower. This after hours thinking is when the big ideas manifest themselves. When at work people are distracted by the small tasks. When away from work (i.e. taking a shower) their mind is free to expand into creative solutions.
It’s About the Results
A person who is engaged in their work and who cares about what they do will be working at all times of the day. They will feel free to do this because they were free on a Wednesday afternoon when they wanted to watch their daughter in her play.
“It’s a two way street,” as my father always told me. The more freedom and trust you give your employees, the more energy they will give back to you.
Is this a perfect method? No. But the alternative is watching employees like a hawk, restricting their creativity until you piss off most of your employees, then they feel forced to leave or stay under the radar. We know how both of these options work out.
We have to adapt and treat people the way they want to be treated, so they will be happy and create results that will make both employer and employee proud.
A New Direction
We must rehumanize business for the sake of our health (economy and individual).
It’s also the best way we can reduce stress. People don’t stress out because the work is too hard. People stress out because they feel forced to do work that they don’t like.
70% of people go to the hospital because of stress-related symptoms. It’s funny that 70% of white collar workers are unhappy at work. Coincidence, hmmm I think not.
When people believe that they are making choices instead of being told what to do, then they will feel like they are creating their own destiny.
Rehumanizing business will improve most companies’ bottom line (more creativity, increased engagement and less absenteeism) as well as individual employee’s happiness and job enjoyment.
My Own Rebuttal
If this is such a great idea, then why don’t all companies give more freedom to their employees?
Old Habits Die Hard
We are so used to the old way of doing business. We are afraid to try something that might not work. We don’t want to risk the whole company crumbling because everyone is off watching their daughter in her school play or hanging out in coffee shops.
We need to crush this fear and replace it with fear of falling behind. We all know that when we are happy and free, we do great work.
We should give employees more freedom to connect with the customer (improve marketing), take off when they want without fear of big brother keeping track (improve trust), and develop projects that will improve the company (improve creativity).
Let’s rehumanize business together.
Link to this post or tweet about rehumanizing business and let’s get more people talking about this concept. You could also send this series of posts to a friend who owns a business. Hopefully they see the value in letting their employees have the freedom to create amazing work.
Want to catch up in this 3 part series? Then check out:
- Part 1 - Rehumanize Business
- Part 2 - Unleash Your Employee’s Creative Marketing Beast
* Join over 600 people who have already subscribed to the FREE Happy at Work 10 Week eCourse. It will arrive in your inbox every Monday morning, when you need it the most. (Sign up is in the top left corner)
* I love an article from Office Arrow. It's called Challenge Your Potential: Competent Leadership.
If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:
- The Secrets to Workplace Leadership
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8 thoughts on “Freedom - Rehumanize Business Part 3”
What a great series Karl!
Yes, so many people are stuck in the "old way" of doing things. But we are seeing they are not necessarily always working. Change is good, but too many people fear it - too bad, because normally it can lead to great new breakthroughs and improvements.
In the end I love the gist of this article - freedom and happiness - those two are core values I think today in every aspect of life.
This has been a great series. You are so right that if employers demonstrated they trusted their employees by providing more individual autonomy as to how and when--and even where--the work gets done (tailored to some extent by the demands of the position, of course)the appreciation they'd get would be demonstrated by huge increases in happiness levels,productivity, loyalty, creativity, and really good PR.
It isn't just senior managers who need to reconsider their attitudes toward the benefits of giving more rather than less freedom; it's also other employees and even some of the less helpful aspects of a unionized workplace that support rigid hierarchies and views about work. Sometimes collective agreements can inadvertently--and somewhat ironically--create more limited rather than supportive working conditions through their language. (Overall, I'm very supportive of organized labour and the very good work that it's done to generally ensure more humane, fair working conditions. I can also see where,at times, the thinking and mindset seem to be a bit rigid and haven't quite caught up to the workplace in the 21st century.)
Really good point on sharing authentic stories on the company.
I think this humanizes things and reminds people that a business stays in business because it makes money, but if you're business is about money and not about value, for the people it serves and the employees it works for ... then game over.
Thanks for this great series.I agree with you that freedom leads to great work environment and more productivity.
Thanks for this great series.I agree with you that freedom leads to great work environment and more productivity though it's sometimes not so easy to apply
Hi Karl -- thanks for this series. I think one way of putting the general theme here is that it's best to treat employees like responsible adults who don't need constant supervision and scolding -- and that this encourages responsible behavior.
Hi Evita, Change is hard to deal with. I know even as an individual I struggle to make changes to my habits. Try to change 100 or 1,000 people's habits and gridlock occurs. Rehumanizing business won't be easy, but nothing worth doing is easy. At least that's what my father taught me. 🙂
"We need to crush this fear and replace it with fear of falling behind."
This sense of responsibility is a two-edged sword. The corporate I work for has cut the head count to the extent that even taking legitimate vacations puts a huge work load on employees who are at work. So everyone has a backlog of both leave and work, most work late so as not to fall too far behind, but nobody MAKES us do it. We worked too smart a few years back and it looked as though we had too much free time. Now we are all frantic.
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