Today’s work culture is no doubt a very different one from that of our parents’. It’s now out with the cubicles and in with the flat-organisation-structure and hot-desks. And it’s not just the layout that’s different; the people who fill offices are different too. Gen Y is now in full force career mode, and a lot of them simply wouldn’t fit into the stereotypical office environments of old. Gen Y are interested in work environments that are forward thinking, liberal and creative. More and more of us don’t have the patience for the babysitting culture of the old school clock-in clock-out structure, with enforced dress codes and equally regimented, out-of-date ways of doing things. By seeking more progressive work cultures, we’re changing the landscape of what is considered ‘normal’ office standards.
“They flash free food, booze, ping pong tables and afternoon naps at you, and avoid real progress like equal pay, paternity leave, or mental health days. Even when a company makes these essentials available, employees are judged and scrutinised for using them.”
No longer is a ‘modern work culture’ solely defined by an open plan office and a ping pong table. More and more companies today have fun gadgets, napping pods, a free-for-all pantry and other ‘cool’ laid back perks. Your boss is chill because they wear jeans and insisted on having a beer tap installed in the kitchen. You have meetings on bean bags and can work remotely and with flexibility. It all sounds very forward thinking and progressive, doesn’t it – but how progressive is it really?
On the surface, the modern day office looks different from those before it; but the conservative mind-set and stigmas still persist. Too many companies continue to lack both the mentality and action of progress. They flash free food, booze, ping pong tables and afternoon naps at you, and avoid real progress like equal pay, paternity leave, or mental health days. Even when a company makes these essentials available, employees are judged and scrutinised for using them.
So, yes. The landscape of the modern office is changing because employees today are more selective about who they’ll work with. We spend shitloads of our lives at the office; and we’ve come to the conclusion that’s a really long time to not be dressing like ourselves – or worse, acting like ourselves. People today want for their work to mean something, and to matter. We also want to feel like we believe in it while we’re at it.
What really defines progress isn’t being a pet-friendly office or on-site yoga classes; it’s about leaving on time without side eyes from your colleagues. Real progress isn’t when your office has an unlimited supply of snacks; it’s when you’re evaluated on your work, not your appearance. Real progress isn’t ‘taking advantage’ of’ paternity leave, or mental health and flexi days, it’s when these essentials are stated as mandatory, and their use is encouraged instead of viewed as a weakness. Real progress isn’t offering ‘competitive wages’ it’s offering equal pay for the same work.
So what kind of company do you spend your time helping to grow? A company that looks cool, or company that is cool?
By Leysha Savoy