13 Considerations When Weighing New Office Policies

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Expert Panel, Young Entrepreneur Council

YEC is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger.">YEC is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger.

Office culture doesn't stagnate; there will always be constant change in how a business operates. Instituting new office procedures and policies as the company culture changes may mean taking some chances. Not all new plans are guaranteed to succeed, and some of them require considerable risk on behalf of the company.

If a business isn't sure if a policy or proposal will turn out positively, then its implementation should be weighed carefully. Failure of the policy might mean minor or severe drawbacks to the business as a whole. For entrepreneurs who are looking to institute new policies, such as allowing pets at the office, 13 members of Young Entrepreneur Council examine the core considerations companies should make when evaluating the viability of implementation.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Clarify The Decision Maker

The first and most important thing to consider is who should actually be making the decision in the first place. Some high-impact decisions may inevitably land on just the CEO, but others may require the input of the larger leadership team or the entire company. Next, I consider other essential aspects like if the proposal aligns with our values as a company and if it fits within industry norms. I personally don’t own a dog, so I may have been resistant to the idea of a dog-friendly office. However, within the framework of similar startups, it was clearly something we needed to consider, and we eventually adopted the policy. - Josh Payne, StackCommerce

2. Weigh The Impact On Others

When you're weighing the pros and cons of a controversial proposal, think about the impact the change will have on everyone in your office. For example, do you want to have pets in your office and risk setting off your co-workers' allergies? Working with allergies can cause a loss in productivity and add stress to the workday. The key to solving this problem is finding that sweet spot between comfort and a professional environment. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

3. Get Feedback From The Team

The most important thing to consider is getting feedback from those whom it will affect. If it is a global policy, at the very least, get buy-in from managers, but ideally from everyone. If it is a policy that affects only one team, get buy-in from the entire team. Ask for feedback. If you don't, you are forcing rules upon everyone that may not go over well long term. Even if everyone agrees with your idea, it is still nice to have feedback and input. It may even save you from making a mistake for something you have not thought about yet. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

4. Do A Trial Run

Seriously, test it out. Lay out the parameters for evaluating whether a new idea is successful, then try it out. For example, you might say, "You can have a pet in the office as long as you promise to take care of it. I do not want to be the one feeding it three months from now." Maybe it'll work or maybe it won't. If you set expectations and let the team know that there's space to evaluate, you create space to let new ideas be heard while being careful about what you sign everyone up for. - Jessica Gonzalez, InCharged

5. Look At The Problem Behind The Proposal

When you're faced with a proposal that seems impractical, it's helpful to consider the real issue behind it. In cases where the proposal is about bringing pets to work, it's worth finding out if your employees want a more home-like environment. Perhaps they feel that bringing pets to work creates that feeling. Perhaps your employees are taking care of their pets on their own. If you know what the main issue is, you can resolve it with alternative solutions. Create a more homey atmosphere with bean bags and casual dress codes. Allow employees to have more work-from-home options. When you really listen and understand the reason for a proposal, you can come up with solutions that work for the business and for your employees. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

6. Weigh Risks Versus Benefits

The most important thing to consider is what the possible risk of a new proposal could be. If there are major risks, then these need to be accounted for so they can be avoided. If not, then look at the benefits and make sure it’s worthwhile. If the benefits outweigh the possible risks and costs, move to a trial period. Determining how to test a proposal is a good option if you’re unsure how things will play out in a real-world scenario. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

7. Think About Productivity

Before you make a major decision about a proposal that has you uneasy, think about the productivity consequences on your staff. You should always make sure that your employees feel secure, safe and stress-free. If the proposal could compromise that security and productivity, it's likely not a good fit for your business. - John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Imagine The Long-Term Implications

If you want to understand if a proposal is worth implementing, imagine what it'll do to the company long term. When you put the future in the picture, it makes things clearer as to what you should do and what the benefits are. If you can't see the company thriving with this new idea in the future, it's best to lay it to rest early. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Prioritize Time-Sensitive Decisions

As a lot of decisions in life go, some external forces will make you feel like every decision is time sensitive, but they are not. You should never rush into a decision on something unless it's completely time sensitive and you have to make a move on it. Most decisions, like office policies, you can probably punt to a later date. Focus on making decisions for actual time-critical or extremely important business decisions today—-everything else can wait a bit. Wait for more data or, in the case of pets in the office, surveys from team members to see if they are onboard with it, before making a decision. - Andy Karuza, FenSens

10. Think Practicality

If the idea on the table isn't practical or doesn't bring anything productive to the forefront, there's little point in having it. Ask yourself how practical the proposal is and if you can see the company operating that way. If it doesn't seem like it'll work out in the long term, it's probably best to say "no" now. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. Determine Who Benefits

When you want to experiment with a new policy, first determine ahead of time who benefits. With pets, they can reduce stress for employees and increase levity. The dogs, cats and hamsters will also enjoy not being left alone in a living space or with a sitter. You, the boss, may like how customers respond to seeing small animals behaving themselves in an otherwise-serious workspace. Know which employees and service people have allergies and if a puppy needs constant walking or time outs. Test out your policy, and establish boundaries where necessary. Prepare to adjust when needed or put your foot down if someone chews up the carpet. - Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

12. Determine Morale Impact

It's helpful to consider how the proposal impacts morale in the workplace. Will it make your employees more motivated? Will not approving the proposal lower motivation levels? You need to make an informed decision to find out if the benefits of approving the proposal outweigh the other problems it can cause. There are no perfect answers in this situation and the right decision is based on your business situation. A good idea to understand whether such changes are worth it is to ask your employees for their opinions. You may find dissenting opinions that are also important. Talking to your employees can lead to alternative solutions that are creative. - Blair Williams, MemberPress

13. Research What Other Companies Are Doing

When you're considering whether a proposal like allowing pets at the office will work, do some research on companies similar to yours that have made the change. You can reach out to them to see how well it's worked for them and even get some tips on how you can implement the new change for your business. - David Henzel, LTVPlus

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Office culture doesn't stagnate; there will always be constant change in how a business operates. Instituting new office procedures and policies as the company culture changes may mean taking some chances. Not all new plans are guaranteed to succeed, and some of them require considerable risk on behalf of the company.

If a business isn't sure if a policy or proposal will turn out positively, then its implementation should be weighed carefully. Failure of the policy might mean minor or severe drawbacks to the business as a whole. For entrepreneurs who are looking to institute new policies, such as allowing pets at the office, 13 members of Young Entrepreneur Council examine the core considerations companies should make when evaluating the viability of implementation.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Clarify The Decision Maker

The first and most important thing to consider is who should actually be making the decision in the first place. Some high-impact decisions may inevitably land on just the CEO, but others may require the input of the larger leadership team or the entire company. Next, I consider other essential aspects like if the proposal aligns with our values as a company and if it fits within industry norms. I personally don’t own a dog, so I may have been resistant to the idea of a dog-friendly office. However, within the framework of similar startups, it was clearly something we needed to consider, and we eventually adopted the policy. - Josh Payne, StackCommerce

2. Weigh The Impact On Others

When you're weighing the pros and cons of a controversial proposal, think about the impact the change will have on everyone in your office. For example, do you want to have pets in your office and risk setting off your co-workers' allergies? Working with allergies can cause a loss in productivity and add stress to the workday. The key to solving this problem is finding that sweet spot between comfort and a professional environment. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

3. Get Feedback From The Team

The most important thing to consider is getting feedback from those whom it will affect. If it is a global policy, at the very least, get buy-in from managers, but ideally from everyone. If it is a policy that affects only one team, get buy-in from the entire team. Ask for feedback. If you don't, you are forcing rules upon everyone that may not go over well long term. Even if everyone agrees with your idea, it is still nice to have feedback and input. It may even save you from making a mistake for something you have not thought about yet. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

4. Do A Trial Run

Seriously, test it out. Lay out the parameters for evaluating whether a new idea is successful, then try it out. For example, you might say, "You can have a pet in the office as long as you promise to take care of it. I do not want to be the one feeding it three months from now." Maybe it'll work or maybe it won't. If you set expectations and let the team know that there's space to evaluate, you create space to let new ideas be heard while being careful about what you sign everyone up for. - Jessica Gonzalez, InCharged

5. Look At The Problem Behind The Proposal

When you're faced with a proposal that seems impractical, it's helpful to consider the real issue behind it. In cases where the proposal is about bringing pets to work, it's worth finding out if your employees want a more home-like environment. Perhaps they feel that bringing pets to work creates that feeling. Perhaps your employees are taking care of their pets on their own. If you know what the main issue is, you can resolve it with alternative solutions. Create a more homey atmosphere with bean bags and casual dress codes. Allow employees to have more work-from-home options. When you really listen and understand the reason for a proposal, you can come up with solutions that work for the business and for your employees. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

6. Weigh Risks Versus Benefits

The most important thing to consider is what the possible risk of a new proposal could be. If there are major risks, then these need to be accounted for so they can be avoided. If not, then look at the benefits and make sure it’s worthwhile. If the benefits outweigh the possible risks and costs, move to a trial period. Determining how to test a proposal is a good option if you’re unsure how things will play out in a real-world scenario. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

7. Think About Productivity

Before you make a major decision about a proposal that has you uneasy, think about the productivity consequences on your staff. You should always make sure that your employees feel secure, safe and stress-free. If the proposal could compromise that security and productivity, it's likely not a good fit for your business. - John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Imagine The Long-Term Implications

If you want to understand if a proposal is worth implementing, imagine what it'll do to the company long term. When you put the future in the picture, it makes things clearer as to what you should do and what the benefits are. If you can't see the company thriving with this new idea in the future, it's best to lay it to rest early. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Prioritize Time-Sensitive Decisions

As a lot of decisions in life go, some external forces will make you feel like every decision is time sensitive, but they are not. You should never rush into a decision on something unless it's completely time sensitive and you have to make a move on it. Most decisions, like office policies, you can probably punt to a later date. Focus on making decisions for actual time-critical or extremely important business decisions today—-everything else can wait a bit. Wait for more data or, in the case of pets in the office, surveys from team members to see if they are onboard with it, before making a decision. - Andy Karuza, FenSens

10. Think Practicality

If the idea on the table isn't practical or doesn't bring anything productive to the forefront, there's little point in having it. Ask yourself how practical the proposal is and if you can see the company operating that way. If it doesn't seem like it'll work out in the long term, it's probably best to say "no" now. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. Determine Who Benefits

When you want to experiment with a new policy, first determine ahead of time who benefits. With pets, they can reduce stress for employees and increase levity. The dogs, cats and hamsters will also enjoy not being left alone in a living space or with a sitter. You, the boss, may like how customers respond to seeing small animals behaving themselves in an otherwise-serious workspace. Know which employees and service people have allergies and if a puppy needs constant walking or time outs. Test out your policy, and establish boundaries where necessary. Prepare to adjust when needed or put your foot down if someone chews up the carpet. - Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

12. Determine Morale Impact

It's helpful to consider how the proposal impacts morale in the workplace. Will it make your employees more motivated? Will not approving the proposal lower motivation levels? You need to make an informed decision to find out if the benefits of approving the proposal outweigh the other problems it can cause. There are no perfect answers in this situation and the right decision is based on your business situation. A good idea to understand whether such changes are worth it is to ask your employees for their opinions. You may find dissenting opinions that are also important. Talking to your employees can lead to alternative solutions that are creative. - Blair Williams, MemberPress

13. Research What Other Companies Are Doing

When you're considering whether a proposal like allowing pets at the office will work, do some research on companies similar to yours that have made the change. You can reach out to them to see how well it's worked for them and even get some tips on how you can implement the new change for your business. - David Henzel, LTVPlus

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. YEC members repre...">Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. YEC members repre...