We could all afford to be a little more happy. And whether it’s through articles like this or friendly advice from people you work with, we’re always looking for simple ways to improve our work lives.

Good advice is worth its weight in gold. But bad advice, even with the best of intentions made at heart, can be just as detrimental as everything else. Here’s three of the best sounding and often least effective “insider secrets” you’ll hear about improving your company culture.

1. Managers Should Always Leave Their Doors Open

Like every one of the tips discussed in this article, open door policies are based on good intentions and the sincere desire to increase employee satisfaction. Just at a glance, they might seem like the perfect way to increase company transparency and encourage collaboration between workers and managers. And yet, more and more experts are coming to the conclusion that we need to keep our doors shut – or at the very least, open them only a crack.

Where the open door policy goes south (and quick) is in its inability to establish proper structure between employers and their bosses. In an office where the boss’ door is always open, some employees will naturally take advantage of an open lifeline while others will feel the burden of communication unjustly turned upon them. Bosses shouldn’t feel impeded by workers constantly turning to them for help, but they also shouldn’t make their employees feel like they need to take the initiative to be heard.

What Forbes recommends is a structured alternative to the open door. Their solution entails scheduled communications, such as office hours, weekly one-on-ones, and optimized group meetings. Maintaining a culture of transparency, cooperation, and appreciation is a mainstay of an effective work environment, but only so much as it doesn’t bring progress to a halt.

2. Keep Your Business and Social Lives Separate

We’re all familiar with the worn-out trope. Men and women so fervently wed to their jobs that they lose track of what really matters in their lives. From Ebenezer Scrooge to Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World, these characters soldier blindly forward in the name of business, forgetting birthdays and anniversaries and the names of their firstborn children. And it’s only after three wise ghosts spend the night or man-eating dinosaurs get unleashed on a crowded tourist trap that they realize the horrifying error of their ways.

Workaholism is a very real phenomenon in the business world. Countless people are sucked into their jobs to the point of familial abandonment and self-destruction. And a lot of that is due to rancid company culture – from enforced overtime to cutthroat competition. But too many people overreach by dissociating their work and personal lives altogether.

Your job should mean something more than an eight hour interruption between you and your active life. Happy employees know the difference between loving their work and having it hopelessly entangled in everything they do. Workers who bring a part of their personal and social lives into the workplace can be a huge boon on a company’s culture. That doesn’t mean they can’t hang everything up and enjoy their lives when their shift ends.

3. Be Happy, No Matter What!

We’ve published so many articles on employee happiness that maybe it’s time to state the obvious: nobody can be chipper 100% of the time.

Workers can be content at their jobs without always smiling, laughing, and sharing their experiences over social media. The constant (and unnatural) onus to exaggerate our happiness levels can turn office wellbeing into an absurd competition. And it can end up having just the opposite of its intended effect.

Overdone displays of office euphoria can end up discouraging people who have more middle-of-the-road and tempered displays of their own satisfaction. And the Chicago Tribune even takes it a step further.

In their article, they state that “highly happy” workers are often perceived as naive and unprepared, easy targets for smooth-talking and manipulation. So while happiness should always be a goal in our working lives, it doesn’t make sense to produce it artificially. Companies should know that true workers satisfaction is something better to be constantly worked towards, rather than faked for the sake of progress.

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By | April 5th, 2017|Company Culture|

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