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More plants and ping pong won’t save you from the office A-Hole!

Over the last decade we have seen a revolution in amenity-driven work spaces, that try to cater for as many people as possible – from Dog, Cat, and Rat lovers, to Ping Pong players, Yoga chillers and Tropical-Leaf flavoured tea drinkers…oh, and let’s not forget the mushroom coffee fans.

Feb 10, 2020

As I lay back in a hammock in the co-working space I work in, staring up at a noise absorbing ceiling made of pointy plants, I wonder – how much value or increased productivity, do these things really bring?

Does the theory that “great workplaces create more engaged employees; and more engaged employees are the key to business productivity and profit…” really hold true?

So why not come along and let us know what you think.

We know that all of these environmental improvers might be nice, and there is credible science to back up the benefits of bean bags and open landscapes, however, none of them matter if you have a disruptive person in the workplace, who is upsetting everyone – The Office A-Hole!

The Corporate Rebels recently wrote a great article, inspired by an office visit that they took, to a Danish design firm. At the office of the design company, there was a wall that pointed out one of the company’s values –

… a home to people with big smiles and small egos. We always have each other’s backs and we accept each other profoundly for who we are. Be kind, be humble, be a buddy, be yourself. We don’t have a dress code, but we do have strict no asshole policy.”

More business productivity and profit are not going to happen in a workplace affected by an A-Hole. To quote the Corporate Rebels article, the A-Hole, in fact, creates the opposite effect for a business, with:

    • Increased costs due to higher turnover. People tend to leave a workplace faster when it is infested by assholes.
    • Increased costs due to more absenteeism. Workplace assholes are toxic, and they literally make people sick.
    • Increased costs due to decreased commitments. People are less engaged when assholes are around—and especially when he/she is their boss.
    • Increased costs due to distraction. Workplace assholes distract others from day-to-day activities, and particularly when the asshole is their boss.

So, if it’s clear that toxic A-Holes in the workplace can have such a negative effect, how do we deal with them? It is an even greater issue when the A-Hole is a high performer that is tolerated by management because they bring in a lot of revenue!

Do we just try to cope with their personalities, whilst risking our own health – hoping someone else will fire them or HR will step in?
Or, should we use the Yoga Room and take a few deep breaths of plant-walled filtered air, or simply smash a few ping pong balls to release our frustrations?

It’s a complex issue, with no simple solution. Internal development, through feedback tools like 360 REACH, can flag the problem to the A-Hole (who may not actually realise that they are one!), and to their manager or HR. Unfortunately, many companies and employment laws protect this kind of toxic colleague, without realising the long-term consequences that can occur – so actually removing them from the workplace, can be a challenge.

A-Holes not welcome!