Sir Richard Branson recently led a ‘Corporate Day’ at the Virgin Management offices to highlight the ‘horrible experience’ of corporate culture.
During the day Virgin Group employees had to work as if in a traditional corporate culture. This included having to wear formal business attire, working strictly from 9am to 5.30pm, working without music (including use of headphones), and a ban on any personal internet use outside of their lunch breaks.
The day ended with a PowerPoint presentation.
“It was a horrible experience for everybody,” Branson wrote on his personal blog. “As you can imagine, the team were all too ready to get back to flexible working the following day.”
Branson, who made the headlines back in 2014 for offering unlimited holiday to his staff, may have held the Corporate Day as a stunt – and the pictures on his blog show that it was not your typical day in the office. But it also highlighted that there are a variety of possible ways to create an environment that works for your business.
As well as raising awareness about the potential of the modern workplace, Virgin Management also used the day to raise money for charity.
Of course, not every business would find it possible to move towards a more modern working environment. Regardless, the increase in mobile technology has made it far easier to work effectively when away from the office; a development demonstrated by the rise in flexible working requests. Flexible working can boost employee engagement, in turn improving retention, morale and productivity.
If your work environment is the way that it is purely because that’s “the way it’s always been”, it may be due a rethink. Make your environment work for your employees, and they will make sure that your business works for your customers.