Positive Changes in the Workplace




"Hi ho, hi ho, it\'s off to work we go." So sang the charmingly quirky dwarfs in Disney\'s Snow White. In many ways they stood for the hopes of mid-century Americans: Hold down a secure job, produce your share of goods or products, do what the boss says, go with the program, and earn enough to support a comfortable lifestyle for yourself and your family. Things haven\'t really changed all that much--or have they?
Only a few of us are currently involved in any type of manual labor or production. In fact, more than 80% of the workforce is in a service position according to most of the information we receive in our Human Resource office. In the past 100 years, the tools of the trade have changed dramatically. We\'ve gone from plows to assembly lines to computers as the primary drivers of our livelihood.
What about "off to work we go"? All indicators point to an ever-increasing rise in telecommuting, home offices, and part-time and just-in-time or temporary workers, spurred on in large part by the increasingly transnational nature of corporations. So this place called work is rapidly becoming any place at all.
Changes like this are happening in all aspects of the workplace and can be attributed too much of the stress that employees are feeling today. I have noticed that many employees are complaining that the high stress of their jobs is causing employee burnout at a very young age, but all of this change is not as catastrophic as it may seem. There are many positive effects to be garnished from the inevitable changes in the workplace. This paper is going to look a four of these positive results from change. 1. Changes allow for freedom on new ideas. 2. Changes meet the Generation X\'s needs for a constant variation in the workplace. 3. Employees work better with a little stress (Fight or Flight). 4. Done right, involving employees in change can create a feeling of ownership.
Changes allow for freedom on new ideas.
Without changes in the workplace you are stifled with the age old traditions. If employees are seeing new ideas tried out regularly, they will in turn, try to provide new ideas in the workplace. A top executive, interviewed for the book The Leadership Challenge states that "If organizations & societies are to make progress, then, leaders must be able to detect when routines are becoming dysfunctional. They must be able to see when routines are smothering creative planning and blocking necessary advancements.(Kouzes, Posner 47)"
This was a major problem when I was working for the newspaper. We had some long time employees, many who dated back to the hand set press days. These employees were very resistant to some of the methods we needed to change to make us competitive in the marketplace. Many of the old routines that were established eons ago were still in effect because it was the "newspaper way" with unnecessary deadlines and extra print runs. Those ways needed to change to bring in the new technology needed to run a competitive newspaper in today\'s society. We needed to look at the demands of the advertiser and reporter which was our ability to react at a moments notice without unnecessary delays. Once we were able to break the old traditions, the new technology became accepted and the old seemed cumbersome and tiresome.
Some change is inevitable, a totally stable company can cause you to become stagnant in you working environment. You never get a chance to shine with your ideas. The only direction up in a traditionally stable company can be a pre-determined route that you will need everybody\'s consent to take.
"If the company had been totally stable, I might have stayed a vice president or who knows what. I just wouldn\'t have had the opportunities that I had" states one top executive interviewed in the book Smash the Pyramid (Doyle, Perking 234).
Everyone wants to protect his/her status in the company and change can challenge this on a regular basis. But, James Kouzes, author of The Leadership Challenge recommends that if leaders do not challenge the process any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change. This change may be