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Workplace Rules That Drive People Crazy

Frustrated worker

While office working has changed massively over the past few years, employers still like to impose workplace rules on those who do come in to work.

Some are relatively sensible and work around how to behave around your workmates to create a nice environment.

Others are hugely restrictive and give the employees the impression they are very much second to the desire to make money.


A lot of these rules are so absurd they make staff miserable and sometimes even cause them to leave.

Research suggests the rules reduce staff productivity and create resentment towards management.


Although rules and guidelines give management power and control over their staff, if an employee feels like the rules are too extreme they will not work to the best of their abilities, which will have an impact on the business.

Here are some rules that drive employees crazy.

Banning Mobile Phones 

It’s completely fine to ask workers to be considerate if they want to use their phones.

In certain public-facing roles, it's not a good look to stand there playing with your phone.

Banning cellphones shows a lack of trust for employees, which will surely cause them to be annoyed.

It's probably the case employees in companies that do this aren't as productive as they could be due to rules like this.

Restrictions on breaks and lunch times

Most people in a workplace are doing their best to earn their salary. 

But if employees are monitored constantly over time away from their desk and are disciplined if they're a few minutes late coming back from lunch, they're not going to be happy.

Management might need reminding on occasion these staff are probably putting in additional hours in the mornings and evenings.

Ludicrous rules about facial hair

Rules like this are particularly prominent in Japan.

Some companies force their employees to be clean-shaven, others actually task their HR teams with coming up with rules over the length and breadth of beards.

Extravagant sideburns are also subject to rules in some places.

Explaining why you need a break

Some companies have systems in place where, if you need a break, you need to email your boss explaining why you need a break.

For example, if you need to get away from your screen or go for a coffee, you need permission.

One scenario faced by staff who have to adhere to this is emailing their boss, and their boss being on a break, or in a meeting, and so they can't allow their staff member to have the break they need permission to ask for.

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No eating while working

Some companies don't let you eat or even chew gum at your desk.

Employees can be, apparently, punished if they're caught with food in their mouth.

Permission to use the bathroom

One stupid office rule often highlighted is that companies make you ask permission to go to the bathroom, and some even time you.

Amazon was a company that was accused of monitoring its staff's bathroom breaks - which it denied.

A lawsuit is pending from a woman who claims she was sacked by Jeff Bezo's company for too many toilet breaks.

Workplace Body weight checks

Again, this happens in Japan.

Some companies actually monitor their staff's body weight.

Companies also check their staff's medical records to see whether they have any complications.

Restricting internet usage

Obviously, there are certain sections of the internet you should not be accessing while at work.

However, some companies still have strict rules over social media usage

Anyone who works in any of these places will have inevitably found themselves blocked out of a completely innocuous site they need for their work and then spending half an hour on the phone to IT to get it unblocked.

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