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10 Bullshit Office Rules You Should Ignore

Mar 12th 2021

Workplace rules range from relevant to ridiculous. Whether rules on makeup or mask-wearing, break time allowances, or email REPLY ALL policies; some workplace rules waste excessive amounts of time and energy policing employees. Office rules are necessary, helpful even, but not all corporate decrees make sense. Here are ten bullshit office rules that are better off ignored. And if you get fired for breaking these don’t blame us. Truth is, you’re probably better off working somewhere else.

Archaic vacation, time off, attendance policies

Workplace rules that enforce strict guidelines on holiday leave, time off, and attendance is not a route to glowing efficiency and productivity. A digital streaming behemoth (yes, that one) has a ‘no policy policy’ on leave, vacation, work hours, or the like. You notice that when you give responsible people responsibility, they show up more often, work harder, and achieve more than when driven by limits.

No telecommuting

As the typical office environment is replaced by video conferencing meetings with no pants on, office rules that enforce going into a workplace are out. Obviously, for some industries, telecommuting is not an option. I don’t think you want your airline pilot saying, “Ah, you know what? I don’t feel like going into the office today. I think I’ll work remotely.”  For others, the days of office cubicle-sitting and rules surround clocking in hours at the workplace are over.

Oppressive telecommuting policies

Up to 30 percent of individuals feel more productive when working from home. That is if given the right tools to work well remotely. The necessary tools include employer-employee trust. If your employer requires video surveillance, hourly check-ins, or minute-by-minute progress reports as part of their workplace rules, it’s probably time you clock out, cut ties, and find another place to call your cubicle.

Approval hierarchies

Many companies have office rules that include seeking layers upon layers of approvals, all required to get shit done. Ironically, this results in no shit getting done. Speaking of poop rules…

Bathroom break policies

Has your office hired a class of kindergartens, or are we all professionals here? There really should be no workplace rules on when employees are allowed to take bathroom breaks. As one writer in the Bible one said, “Let my people go...”

Dress code rules

If an employer doesn’t trust you to “adult appropriately” and dress yourself, there are more significant HR issues to handle. Unless there is a standard uniform policy or a legitimate safety or security reason, office rules on dress code are bullshit.

Rules on eating or drinking

Not allowing an employee to nourish themselves as they see fit...why not simply hire robots? This is an office rule that definitely deserves to be dodged.

Always on-call

Everyone has a price, and some employers will buy all of your time if you choose to sell it to them. Suppose that works for you, great. If not, break the bullshit office rule of “Always on call.” The first bonus you’ll notice will mostly likely be improved mental health.

Forced performance rankings

Companies who rank employees based on unsubstantiated performance standards are doing both the employees and themselves a disservice. Performance ranking systems are a lazy workplace rule, which creates insecurity, disunity, and disillusionment. If you find yourself encountering an office rule that does not recognize your skills and talents objectively, remember that C grades pass at C grade employers.

Employers Pocketing Travel Points

Business travel may not be booming like it was pre-pandemic. Still, if you earn hotel, airline, or any sort of points because of your job, it’s common courtesy that office rules allow you to keep the travel perks. It’s an asshole move for an employer to get between a bleary-eyed traveler and his or her hotel and airline points. Something else to bring up to your next company meeting— “Can we earn points or bonuses for how many Zoom meetings attended in a day?”

In summary, it’s impossible to avoid all office rules or office politics. It is your task to figure out which workplace rules you can live with, live without, or bend without breaking too far.

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