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Halloween Isn’t Scary, Workplaces Are

This Halloween (31st October) people will be getting dressed up, saying “trick or treat”, eating sweets and carving pumpkins.

Some people will be under the mistaken belief that this is an Australian tradition.  It is not.  It is American.

The import of Halloween doesn’t scare us as much as the import of other American cultural norms in workplaces.  In fact, the tradition of scaring kids, giving sweets and dressing up like horror movie characters is relatively benign when compared with other US cultural norms.

Scary Workplaces

At 3 Minute Angels we are lucky.  We go to workplaces that care enough about their employees to actually provide massage services.  These organisations really care how their employees feel.

However, there are still some workplaces that are filled with the stuff of nightmares.

Lip Service

We used to call a spade a spade.  Australian culture was famed for “straight speaking”. 

That doesn’t mean we were rude.  Far from it. We used to look people in the eye.  We used to practice expressing gratitude with a genuine smile.

Nowadays, customer service isn’t about authenticity – it is about compliance.

Employee engagement isn’t about a challenge someone can sink their teeth into.  Instead, it is about a ‘safe’ place.

Australians give “lip service” to the values and customs we used to hold dear.

Management Speak

Lip Service took over authenticity because of the torrent of management speak that accompanied it.

This meant we were no longer able to say: “Sorry you aren’t up to the job”.  “Yes”, “No” or “In your dreams”.

Instead we have to say things like: “This role isn’t within your current capacities”, “Perhaps”, “Lets defer that for a later time” or “that may need to go to a committee for review”.

Open Plan Offices

To assist in the spread of passive aggressive behaviour, office gossip and management speak most offices also embarked on the Open Plan Office.

In many open-plan offices, the drive for increased interaction and collaboration comes at the expense of the ability to focus and concentrate.

When distraction makes it hard for employees to focus, cognitive and emotional resources are depleted. The result is increasing stress and errors, undermining performance.

When employees can’t concentrate on their work, their desire to interact and collaborate with others is reduced.

In addition, new research suggests that increased crowding in the workplace and low levels of privacy lead to defensive behaviours and strained workplace relationships.

Start-Up Infatuation

The newest and dumbest thing Australian workplaces are taking from the US is the infatuation with Start-Ups.

Organisations that have nothing to do with innovation like banking, mining, retail and are literally the oldest organisations we have in Australia (i.e Westpac) will often find themselves recruiting for roles that sound like they’re in a startup, will provide employees perks like they are at Google and will provide each and every employee with management techniques that are good for software developers i.e sprints or good for game developers or stand-up meetings.  Even if the employee is in risk management or credit application.


Bridging the Gap

Have you seen evidence of this happening in your workplace? Maybe we can help.

3 Minute Angels can blend in perfectly in the workplace to ease the disconnect between management and employees.

Australian Workplace Incentives

Positively influencing Australian workplaces since 2002