Workplace guidelines are designed to ensure the wellbeing of employees while maximizing productivity. But some rules are so ridiculous they make you wonder how or why they came about in the first place.


Does this even need to be a thing?

Infamous rules such as “Employees must wash hands before returning to work,” or “All employees must wear eye protection while operating machines,” are pretty much ubiquitous. While these should be common sense to everyone, those, in particular, are in place for public health and safety. The signs we frequently see help keep the rules fresh in our heads.

However, some rules beg the question: Why is this even a rule? Do not place non-edible items in the fryer, Do not climb into the trash compactor and Employees must wear shoes at all times are just some examples of rules that, one would think, state the obvious.

It makes the mind curious about how or why these were put in place. Did a disgruntled employee deep-fry a coworkers phone? Was someone hurt taking an unscheduled break in the trash compactor? At what kind of establishment would it ever be okay to go shoeless? The questions raised are limitless.


Say what?

Besides the futility of some rules, other types leave a person scratching their head. The most frequent area is in dress codes. There are sometimes good reasons for restrictions in this area such as safety. Work with a respirator? No beards. Work around spinning machinery? No ties, long hair or loose clothing. Work in a professional environment? Keep a clean, well kept, contemporary appearance.

But the rest of us are often somewhere in between. Company wardrobe restrictions are just one of the areas that can get a tad silly. Some businesses ban wearing capri pants with no explanation given. Does the sight of a naked ankle get someone all fired up and cause drama in the workplace? I would think not.

But it doesn’t stop there. Employers have banned certain colors, cuts, and types of clothing; even underwear types. While every job has a typical “uniform,” limiting fashion is an odd place to put your time and energy.


Micro Management Monsters

Repeat after me: A productive workplace is a happy workplace. Management knows best. I am at my best when I am the most productive.

Companies can sometimes turn the control knob up way too high. Rules regarding personal time, bathroom usage, and even smiling can be downright cruel. But there are businesses out there who do just that in the name of productivity.

It’s pretty standard for offices or shops to have a break room with a small kitchen for employees to use. However, there is management out there that limit the type of food and soft drinks you can bring to work. One company even states that employees are forbidden to drink anything other than plain water and only from a clear bottle. Talk about strict.


But what does it all mean?

Rest assured that there are crazier rules out there. But fortunately, your average person will only encounter a few of these in a lifetime. They can be in place for safety and well-being, but sometimes they are a sweeping response to an isolated incident. Either way, one would assume that there was probably a good reason at one time for implementing them. What is the craziest work rule you encountered?




Article updated from original February 26th, 2019