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Employee Productivity and Sarcasm

Friday, April 27, 2012 by Slaughter Development

Employee productivity may be up according to the Department of Labor, but there’s one sure sign that employee satisfaction is still in the dumps: flippant remarks.

Take a look at this photo, which an unidentified source caught in the wild:

The note on the top is probably intended to have a positive impact on employee productivity. But even if you read it by itself, the language is pretty demoralizing.

First, it begins with an edict: “Our office hours start at 8:30 AM.”

We know that micromanaging employees has a tremendously negative impact on morale. Dictating that they must be there by a certain time isn’t going to garner much respect.

But then, the poster gets even worse. It continues by listing other times at which presumably workers tend to stumble in.

Finally, the upper notice includes a signature from “your longest serving partner.” That’s like saying, “I’m the only productive employee around here, and you should listen to me because I’ve been here for ages.”

Workplace productivity does benefit from experience, but the second posting doesn’t show much judgment. Instead, it’s a sarcastic retort. Not only does it mock the original, but it even ends with “your humble servant.” Perhaps the prankster is trying to express that he feels more like a slave than a colleague.

We’ve known for a long time that working overtime is counterproductive.  But what this image demonstrates is one of the most obvious signs of a dangerously unhealthy workplace.

Any time people crack sarcastic jokes at the office, you can be sure they are just trying to find ways to relieve tension.   But why is the office stressful in the first place? And we’re not talking about the kind of workplace stress that’s beneficial. Instead, a battle of snarky signs ought to tell us that we need to seriously assess our organizational culture.

Everyone wants to improve employee productivity. But plastering your opinions to the wall using a nasty tone is no way to drive lasting change.

Instead, we need to address the structure of work. We need to be willing to question assumptions and redesign basic patterns. We must be ready to hear the thoughts of each and every employee. Productivity can be dramatically increased, but only if the people doing the work are part of the process.


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3 Responses to “Employee Productivity and Sarcasm”

  1. Randy Clark Says:

    The “longest serving partner” is not serving but attempting to manage. One manages projects and leads people. Leadership is service – managing people as if it were a project is a disservice to all.

  2. Jaime Lira Says:

    Agreed. Sarcasm doesn’t accomplish much — especially in the workplace.

  3. James Lawther Says:

    On a positive note, at least somebody put the second notice up

    It would have so much worse if nobody felt like they could get away with it

    I do hope the longest serving partner is ecstatic to have his notice plastered all over the internet. Did you send him the link?


    PS I am British, and we love a bit of sarcasm

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