Positive Changes In The Workplace Positive Changes in the Workplace Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go. So sang the charmingly quirky dwarfs in Disney’s Snow White. In many ways they stood for the hopes of mid-century Americans: Hold down a secure job, produce your share of goods or products, do what the boss says, go with the program, and earn enough to support a comfortable lifestyle for yourself and your family. Things haven’t really changed all that much–or have they? Only a few of us are currently involved in any type of manual labor or production. In fact, more than 80% of the workforce is in a service position according to most of the information we receive in our Human Resource office.
In the past 100 years, the tools of the trade have changed dramatically. We’ve gone from plows to assembly lines to computers as the primary drivers of our livelihood. What about off to work we go? All indicators point to an ever-increasing rise in telecommuting, home offices, and part-time and just-in-time or temporary workers, spurred on in large part by the increasingly transnational nature of corporations. So this place called work is rapidly becoming any place at all. Changes like this are happening in all aspects of the workplace and can be attributed too much of the stress that employees are feeling today.
I have noticed that many employees are complaining that the high stress of their jobs is causing employee burnout at a very young age, but all of this change is not as catastrophic as it may seem. There are many positive effects to be garnished from the inevitable changes in the workplace. This paper is going to look a four of these positive results from change. 1. Changes allow for freedom on new ideas.
2. Changes meet the Generation X’s needs for a constant variation in the workplace. 3. Employees work better with a little stress (Fight or Flight). 4. Done right, involving employees in change can create a feeling of ownership.
Changes allow for freedom on new ideas. Without changes in the workplace you are stifled with the age old traditions. If employees are seeing new ideas tried out regularly, they will in turn, try to provide new ideas in the workplace. A top executive, interviewed for the book The Leadership Challenge states that If organizations & societies are to make progress, then, leaders must be able to detect when routines are becoming dysfunctional. They must be able to see when routines are smothering creative planning and blocking necessary advancements.(Kouzes, Posner 47) This was a major problem when I was working for the newspaper.
We had some long time employees, many who dated back to the hand set press days. These employees were very resistant to some of the methods we needed to change to make us competitive in the marketplace. Many of the old routines that were established eons ago were still in effect because it was the newspaper way with unnecessary deadlines and extra print runs. Those ways needed to change to bring in the new technology needed to run a competitive newspaper in today’s society. We needed to look at the demands of the advertiser and reporter which was our ability to react at a moments notice without unnecessary delays.
Once we were able to break the old traditions, the new technology became accepted and the old seemed cumbersome and tiresome. Some change is inevitable, a totally stable company can cause you to become stagnant in you working environment. You never get a chance to shine with your ideas. The only direction up in a traditionally stable company can be a pre-determined route that you will need everybody’s consent to take. If the company had been totally stable, I might have stayed a vice president or who knows what.
I just wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I had states one top executive interviewed in the book Smash the Pyramid (Doyle, Perking 234). Everyone wants to protect his/her status in the company and change can challenge this on a regular basis. But, James Kouzes, author of The Leadership Challenge recommends that if leaders do not challenge the process any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change. This change may be the one thing that stagnates the company and will eventually cause the company to loose ground in this world. Embrace change and it will become a positive force for you in your travels to the top of your field.
You’ve heard that every problem is an opportunity, and as tough times begin to close in, you can probably spot several ways to do something good for your company. So, let the tough times roll and the new ideas will follow. Changes meet the Generation X’s needs for a constant variation. We have a new type of work force developing in the horizon. The schools are experiencing trying to teach these future employees now.
These youth are going to require a different workplace than what our parents had. They will not be able to sit and perform the same task over and over for eight hours a day because since birth, they have been constantly stimulated with all of the high technical devices available in the modern day world. These people have been stimulated with everything from dolls that read to you to Nintendo games that give you virtual reality. The teachers of today are now learning how to train these future employees and we are going to have to change our workplace to meet their needs. Students, however, conditioned by years of television, interactive video games and computers, are looking for something other than continual discourse from the teacher. They want to manipulate the joysticks, move the mice, and be on-line with their educational process.
In other words, they want to be active participants, not passive observers, in their learning. The situation has prompted a call to action by the United States Secretary of Education, R. Riley: We cannot sit still rooted to the chalk board and pencil at a time when a 12-year-old can literally touch his or her mouse pad and travel from web site to web site around the world (Riley, 1998) Generation X’ers take longer to make job choices. They look upon a job as temporary instead of as a career, partly because they want to keep their options open. They are always looking to jump ship when they can upgrade their situation. They will often leave a job at the hint of a better position(Losyk 29-44).
States Bob Losyk in his analysis of this new generation. He makes a point of noting that this generation does not expect the loyalties from the companies, with their downsizing, and in turn are not near as loyal to their place of employment. To attract these employees and provide a beneficial work place environment for them many companies are changing their workplace strategies. Where once you were encouraged to bring you children on a specific day to see where you work, then they came up with the idea of workplace child-care, now the employees are being allowed to bring their pets with them to work. These new Generation X’ers are going to change the face of the workplace creating an environment of excitement and innovation.
As long as our economy continues to improve this generation will provide us with many new looks to the old standby workplace. People work better with a little stress (Fight or Flight) When humans first appeared on this world, they needed a little s …