When to use office standards and when to use your own.
Kevin likes having not just 1, but 2 litterboxes. They are the exact same size and shape but they are on two different floors of the house. There is a number 1 box and a number 2 box. He likes a specific brand of cat litter that works for him and for us. If a litterbox gets too old, or we need new litter, we use the same products. They are our household standard.
Not to be complicated with change or learning a new system, the litterbox standards are about tradition and efficiency. Following basic office standards is like a tradition. They are simple acts intended to make life more pleasurable. There are protocols, systems, and tools that can be used to make work easier and with better efficiency, thus eliminating stress and generating Profit.
Letterheads, file storage locations, and project set-up templates, are all examples of basic office functions that can create havoc for others and become a buffet for billable time to snack upon. Some of the office standards suck and dually noted. These ridiculous standards should be the topic of office staff meetings so that a consensus can be achieved which works, on-average, for everyone.
Each time an team member stores a project file on their own hard drive it becomes extremely difficult for collaboration. If that team member is away, then no one can find the file, the project work is delayed or has to be done again, and Profit jumps out the window never to been seen or heard from again.
All the idealisms of business can't help an inefficient project set-up being badly managed into Profit without sacrifice or loss. Following project standards can give a badly managed project some girth to start a re-structuring plan or team members a sense of organization in chaos.
Following a standard procedure or using office software properly does not make you a conformist. It does not challenge your inner rebel or lower your office "coolness" factor. It makes you the hero as it will always be easy to work with you and you will make Profit happy. A happy Profit makes upper management happy and you have a win-win. You can still be Punk and follow an office standard. If you have the time to question the global value of how using the standard letterhead template affects you emotionally and challenges your values to the company....then there is another blog for you out there called "Shrimp and the Corporate Shrink".
Kevin and I have our standard writing template. It may not be flashy, or as exciting as an Instagram breakfast, but it gives us one less thing to worry about so we can spend time meeting our deadlines. Now we are going to take a break and buy Kevin his new spiked collar - that isn't his standard.
Fiona Warren - 17 years experience with large high-profile projects and teams.