News Poll: Casual and ‘fun’ is prevalent, helpful in the office

Some ‘focus on productivity over structure’
 - 
Monday, December 8, 2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—John Loud, owner of LOUD Security believes that without a positive company culture, “nothing else matters.” SSN readers discuss Loud’s approach and issues such as cellphone policies and casual working environments in the latest SSN News Poll.

Loud doesn’t allow employees to bring personal cellphones to work. In contrast, 90 percent of the News Poll respondents say cellphones are freely allowed at their work, and an additional 8 percent say cellphones are allowed for a specific need. Only one respondent agreed with Loud that cellphones do not belong at work.

“[I] disagree with Loud and believe his management vision is off track,” said one respondent. “The bottom line is if you can't trust your own people to be able to accomplish the balance [between professional and casual], then you've hired the wrong people.”

Loud endorses hosting events for his employees. Most readers—60 percent—said their companies host one to five events per year. Twenty-one percent said six or more. “There is some type of event every week on a small scale and on a larger scale about every six weeks on average,” at one reader’s company. Nineteen percent said that their company hosts zero events each year.

Workplace environments widely varied in the poll responses. “We have a very relaxed atmosphere with a focus on productivity over structure,” said one reader. “[It] doesn't seem as though the owner of the company understands the value of building a pleasant work environment,” said another.

Casual Fridays are a common but not universal. Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated that Casual Fridays are a weekly event, while 23 percent say that casual and work don’t mix.

The remaining 8 percent of respondents agree with Loud’s philosophy of a casual environment being a reward for supporting a cause. One respondent’s work place makes it “optional to donate $2.00 on Fridays to wear jeans.”

Some companies create unique traditions. “Every week our company has a cross-office ‘huddle’ (US and Canada offices). Each Friday we all wear fun (the louder the better) shirts, grab a drink and have a video conference where we share our office ‘wins’ with the other offices and often give out what we call a ‘mug of the week’ when an employee has gone above and beyond, so the whole company can recognize them for their efforts,” wrote Wendi Burke, senior director of marketing for 3xLOGIC.