Article: The Counsellor: Excessive use of recreational facilities

Employee Relations

The Counsellor: Excessive use of recreational facilities

My team-mates seem to hurry with their work for the much coveted coffee break. What do I do?
The Counsellor: Excessive use of recreational facilities

A few months back, a gym and a gaming zone opened up in our office for people to take a break and use these services for “stress busting”. I do feel that breaks are required, but do we really need to go the whole hog and literally make office feel like home? As a manager, I often note that my colleagues and team-mates seem to hurry with their work just for the much coveted break at the cafeteria and the gaming area. I face this dilemma constantly at office - should we be taking these services away now?

Facilities like a gaming area, gymnasium, a well-appointed cafeteria, etc. are created to improve the work environment and in the process, enhance productivity. Such facilities should be looked at as enablers for better conditions of work leading to improved work-life balance, and to improve the working atmosphere, build teams and in the process ensure the morale and motivation of the people goes up.

The employees should use these facilities with responsibility and ensure the productive working environment does not deteriorate. The managers/leaders also have a role to play – they must ensure that while employees are allowed to use these facilities, the purpose and the spirit behind creation of these facilities is not lost.

The thought of taking away theses services may not be right. Think of ensuring that people become more responsible. Always remember we don’t measure people for the time but for the performance, which includes responsiveness to the customer needs as well as internal management needs. Some fun, some rest, some stress busters and right facilities are necessary; however, they should be deemed as enablers and not as the reasons for people to come for work. As leaders think of creating a right environment, educate your people rather than thinking of withdrawing the facilities. Create guidelines and norms around what has been created rather than creating strict rules which will be prohibitive. Leaders should find creative ways of maximising the advantages that come from such facilities rather than stopping their usage.

Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this, he was based in Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region. Allow Vivek to clear your career & professional dilemmas by writing to us at

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Topics: Employee Relations

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