Diwali, the festival of lights, is not just about dispelling darkness to welcome light, but also about knowledge winning over ignorance. So, here are some common office myths that have existed for as long as the workplace has and the actual truth about them. This Diwali, let’s debunk these myths and remove them from our workplace lingo for good!
Office Myth #1: More hours = More work
If there is one myth that needs to be definitely debunked this Diwali (and on all other days), it is about assuming that the more the number of hours people spend at work, the more work gets done. It’s high time we give up this unfounded notion that productivity is directly proportional to the number of hours employees are seen at work. On the contrary, in a world moving towards flexible work and high performance, the emphasis should be more on how productive an employee is in x number of hours rather than how many hours he spends at his desk. An employee seen languishing at work for more than stipulated hours could just be someone who is efficient and unable to manage his work properly in the stipulated hours rather than being hard working. Research shows that it is incorrect to generalize that those who work shorter hours won't taste the happiness and rewards of hard work. Take the case of Germans who work fewer hours compared (1,363 hours/year) to their other European counterparts such as the Greeks (2,035 hours/ year) and yet manage to rake in one of the highest GDP per capita in EU (Germany’s GDP stood at $52,801 compared to $29,057 of Greece in 2018). No wonder, it’s high time we discard the equation of more hours = more work and adopt the notion of a productive employee = lesser hours = more output = happier employee!
Office Myth #2: Baby boomers are not tech-savvy
Did you just read that and think: “But it’s true?” That’s how popular this misconception is: ‘Baby boomers are resistant to technology’. Unfortunately, many job seekers in their 40s and 50s have lost their jobs or not been able to get a new one only because of this misconception. Young people and digital have been a match since the beginning because they were born in this new-age era. However, we can’t ignore that the boomers are actually the ones to have witnessed life-changing breakthroughs in technology.
While the stereotype shows the millennial teaching the baby boomer how to use mobile, laptop, social media and now Siri or Alexa, the reality is different. According to a study by DMN3, 96 percent of baby boomers use search engines, 95 percent use email, and 92 percent shop for products and services online rather than shopping in stores and shopping malls. Further, 82 percent of baby boomers who use the internet regularly have at least one social media account. About 75 percent of all U.S. baby boomers are on Facebook, and 35 percent use business-focused networking sites, such as LinkedIn. There are many business professionals from the older generations who are way more active than their younger colleagues on social networking platforms. In fact, there are many representatives of this generation on the companies’ board and leadership teams spearheading their respective businesses towards digital transformation. Largely, baby boomers might have taken a little more time to adapt to the rapid changes in technology but assuming they are not tech-savvy is not the right approach. So, before you judge them, pause, and ask them their thoughts about technology, digital transformation and social media. You never know, they might have more followers than you on Twitter!
Office Myth #3: Women employees resist change
Diwali marks the homecoming of Ram, Laxman and Sita to Ayodhya after 14 years of struggle. Yet after returning home after so long and having faced several challenges, Sita had to prove her purity through an Agnipareeksha. Time and again, women have been questioned; to prove they have it in them to work, prove they are capable, prove they are worth taking a chance on, and prove that they can balance home and work responsibilities without compromising on either. It is often assumed that their personal responsibilities will make them less likely to be able to travel, to relocate, or spend longer hours at work. Such presumptions have been broken down by some absolutely incredible leaders. Whether we think about the Iron Lady Indira Gandhi or corporate icons like Indra Nooyi and Leena Nair or the many other women who stay nameless, women on a daily basis make it their purpose to fulfil their responsibilities keeping their welfare after everyone and everything else. This Diwali, we bow down to such strong women who are debunking such myths and continue to inspire many more to follow suit.
Office Myth #4: Automation will replace jobs
While automation arrived at the workplace during the First Industrial Revolution, the integration of technology that really impacts employees at the workplace is happening now. Complete businesses are getting disrupted with the greater integration of technology in almost every aspect of work, thereby, creating panic among organizations and people that jobs will get replaced and technology will rule the world.
Breathe! AI, Blockchain, Robots and all the technologies that exist aren’t going to displace people. In fact, the emerging technologies will create new roles and jobs. Arrival of high-end technology will not increase a pool of low-skill talent but enable people to take charge of their learning and career progression. Moreover, new age machines will not lead to unimaginative and conventional work but will give people more time to innovate and think creatively. Just like Diwali is a celebration of ‘good’ over ‘evil’, let’s celebrate the benefits that technology can bring to our people and businesses.
Office Myth #5: HR is here to organize events, ONLY
Whenever there is a get-together to be planned at work or Diwali decorations to be done, everyone starts looking for the resident HR. This mindset has been carried down for many years and does not account for the leaps and bounds by which HR has grown as a function. HR now touches every aspect of business and the essence of an organization--the people. From being the promoters of the employer brand, to helping the employees right from the day of the first interview to walking with them along the way as they progress through their careers in tandem with the business growth.
They are the harbingers of new-age trends in managing people in a better way, adopting new technologies to make internal processes more seamless, and understanding the pulse of employee aspirations. So, the next time you think of HR and think only events, pause for a moment and think about the strategic and instrumental role HR plays in an organization!
Are there any more workplace myths that come to your mind while reading this? Please comment below and share your thoughts. Let’s bust some more!