Don't use the family restroom unless you're nursing or attending to your child.
Those were the instructions an office building landlord recently belted out to its tenants. The reason it gave: Fathers sometimes use the diaper-changing room, and it would be awkward if there's a woman in the cubicle located just next to the diaper room.
So does that mean breastfeeding mothers shouldn't visit that restroom, too? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of having a family restroom?
And what if my bladder was bursting at the seams and all three cubicles in the common restroom are occupied? If the family restroom is empty, why stop me from answering the urgent call of nature? After all, when you have to go, you have to go.
Oddly enough, the family restroom is hardly used. It's an awful waste of resources to let it stand empty most of the day, while at the same time, female tenants have to stand in line to use the cubicles in the common restroom.
It all seems quite senseless. But, unfortunately, the landlord's blatant inflexibility is not uncommon among businesses.
How often have you come across a helpdesk operator who couldn't help you because "it's against company policy"?
And how often have you encountered a customer service officer who couldn't provide the service you wanted because "the system doesn't allow it"?
Too often, I bet.
Companies that refuse to adopt some flexibility in how they operate are more likely to be less open-minded about doing things differently, even if it's potentially for the better.
That philosophy can be detrimental to the IT industry. No innovation can come out of organizations that are unwilling--when the need arises--to bend the rules a little, and that practise "playing by the book" too religiously.
Businesses that rather take a cookie-cutter approach, even if it means shoving things into pigeon holes that no longer fit, will never emerge as innovators. They're likely companies that expect the business to conform to IT, and that often hit barriers without exhausting their resources because they're not accustomed to thinking outside the box.
While it's true that the rules of corporate governance and compliance can make it tough for companies to stray too far away from set policies, some allowance should be set aside for processes to be modified if it makes business sense to do so.
Is your company willing to bend when it needs to?