people sitting in an office

4 Workplace Practices That Need To Be Stopped

A young person shares the workplace practices that she feels are red flags

Social IssuesMental health and wellbeing
By VoiceBox ·

Jan

A young person from Malaysia who writes about anything and everything that interests her

4 Workplace Practices That Need To Be Stopped

As someone who has jumped from job to job, there were several common workplace practices that I have noticed and absolutely abhor. Here are four workplace practices that need to stop:

1) Discouraging the Discussion of Salaries Among Coworkers

This is probably one of the most common workplace practices that upper management tends to enforce in the workplace. I’m sure that many people have been told to keep their salaries confidential when they first enter a company. While some companies just casually mention it, others actually go so far as to scare their employees by saying that it’s illegal to disclose their salaries to others (this is absolutely false). 

Why do companies do this? Because it benefits them as they underpay their employees. Salary discrepancies for the same position are super common. In my case, I learn that I was actually earning more as a newcomer compared to a senior who had already been working in the same position for a year. I also found out that I had colleagues who were paid far below the salary that was promoted in the job advertisements and far below the market rate. 

With this discovery, my colleagues and I actually decided to band together and ask for raises or at least an explanation for the pay discrepancies because we wanted each other to be paid fairly. Without this discussion, the company would’ve happily continued underpaying everyone and reaping the benefits. 

2) “Optional” (More Like Mandatory) Team Building 

I understand that team building can be essential to the workflow of a team and it just helps to spark some camaraderie among coworkers as well. That being said, it is extremely annoying for companies to force their employees to attend these team-building activities outside of working hours. It’s even worse when they’re not compensated by the company whatsoever. 

These activities can range from secret Santas to dinners to company trips. There are times when I just want to clock out, go home and just relax without having to talk to anyone. I already contribute so much time to the company that it’s ridiculous to pressure me to use up my free time for the company as well. Now, why do I say that they’re “optional”? That’s because while management might say that it’s alright not to participate, they often add another sentence or have some double meaning implying that you won’t be a team player if you choose not to participate. These kinds of practices try their best to force their employees to bond to the point where it’s a bit grating. 

3) Preaching Work-Life "Harmony"

I’m an avid believer in work-life balance. I make it a point to separate my work and personal life. I’m the kind of person that switches off my “work” brain when work ends. I’ve encountered companies that preached something called work-life harmony where they believe that a person shouldn’t separate their work and personal lives and that it’s detrimental to do so, that a person will not reach their full career potential if they do so. They believe that a person should always be thinking about work even during their free time and that they should be seeing everything in their daily lives through a “work lens”. That’s just a different way of asking their employees to work as much as possible without getting compensated. I am absolutely not going to sacrifice my precious personal time to work and earn money for people who do not even appreciate the effort and even go so far to flex their wealth in front of their employees (yes, my ex-boss would flex his luxury purchases in front of me). 

4) Preaching Loyalty and Gratitude 

I can understand that there are genuinely good bosses and leaders out there that have employees that are loyal and grateful to them for offering them their jobs. Unfortunately, those kinds of bosses are rare, and it’s more common to hear of bosses who demand loyalty and gratitude when they don’t deserve it. 

I got my first job during the pandemic when tons of people were unemployed. As I was desperate, I ignored the many red flags that presented themselves in the interview; hence when I started working, the workplace was so toxic that I mentally slapped myself for not heeding the warning signs. Regardless, the head of that company would always preach about wanting loyalty from us and even went so far as to say that we should be grateful that he gave us a job during such hard times. However, I would argue that bosses should be grateful to even get employees since companies can’t function with a lack of staff. Loyalty is such an outdated concept and is often a one-way street. Unfortunately, many companies just see their employees as “numbers”, and it is likely that the loyal employees will get cut as soon as they “outlive their use”. I will only be loyal to the salary I get paid. Should that salary cease to be worth my time and effort, I will gladly leave the job. It may seem harsh, but I work to live, not live to work. 

These kinds of workplace practices have been around for decades and will take a long time to stop if they can be stopped at all. But I trust that as people’s attitudes towards working environments change, more and more people will learn to stand up for themselves and say no to such practices. Hopefully, companies and upper management will take the hint and stop pushing such practices as well.

Suggested Articles

  • aerial photo of busy highways
    The Everyday Struggle of Commuting

    The Everyday Struggle of Commuting

    Having to choose between safety and convenience vs being economical and environmentally conscious

  • a crochet heart
    The Value of Handmade Goods

    The Value of Handmade Goods

    Why it is important to recognize both the monetary and intrinsic value of handmade goods.

  • a white shirt, black shoes and black skirt on a blue background
    Schools Uniforms: Do They Really Help Students?

    Schools Uniforms: Do They Really Help Students?

    Why school uniforms shouldn't act as the solution to all problems students face at school