The Dark Side of a Free Company Culture

We all dream of getting into great, successful companies that allow its employees a wide array of personal freedoms – an uncommon situation, for sure. But there’s no denying it. Potential workers want to go to companies that prioritize their peoples’ balance of personal and professional lives; they want to be able to do what they want so long as they finish their jobs. Integrating freedom into company culture is a common occurrence nowadays, after all. Is there any harm to it?

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Coming in and clocking out any time, finishing your work at your own pace, and spending your work hours however well you please – these sound like what every employee would want. It’s perceived as the realized idealistic work environment.

Big companies like Google, Zappos, and Twitter are great examples of the aforementioned ideal working environment, and for them this model of operation works. But the question remains if this is true for other organizations as well.

While freedom in general is considered to be a positive aspect, like a double edged sword, there are numerous disadvantages that come with it as well. Consider the following negative aspects of a loose company culture and how it might affect you, your employees, and your business:

It’s not applicable to all

Contrary to popular belief, there exist employers that think that having an open company culture is conductive to increased productivity and success. However, the sad truth is that this model of culture isn’t compatible with all types of businesses. Flexible work arrangements are particularly incompatible with factory operations where employees have to depend on each other being there at the same time for maximized productivity. The same is true for customer support oriented businesses – if employees are allowed to come and go as they please, almost no one would come in before 9 am and very few would even choose to stay after the 7 pm mark. So the only logical solution would be to set up rigid schedules for everyone to clock in and out of in order to ensure that the business runs optimally.

Not everyone has the discipline for it

Just because employers are happy to let their employees spend their time as they please, that doesn’t mean that it should be spent on frivolous activities that are not related to work. Some people, when give the privilege of work time freedom, will abuse the system as oppose to use it to their leverage. Inevitably, there are those who lack the self-discipline required for willing themselves to do their jobs, so instead of finishing what they have to at their own pace they may instead choose to dawdle around first and then procrastinate at the last minute. Of course, procrastination is a different monster altogether – should employees rush their work, then the obvious side effect would be a severe drop in quality. This hurts not only the employee’s performance but there’s a large chance it may also impact the company as well. Numerous cases of this kind of behaviour can prove severely debilitating to any one organization, so it’s best avoided.

It’s harder to maintain

Naturally, allowing everyone to do what they want anytime will have some unwanted repercussions when it comes to management. Tracking time will be more difficult and productivity will prove nigh unmeasurable. On top of that, overhead costs will increase as facilities are required to operate 24/7 in order to accommodate everyone. So for companies who can’t keep up with such laborious upkeep, it’d be best to simply set rules and schedules.

Company freedom is wanted by all but unfortunately is something not everybody can have. But, should you ever decide that the pros outweigh the cons and that you want to employ this method into your own company, just be sure that you prevent the aforementioned situations from happening.



Kimberly Marie Gayeta (Kimmy)?is a Communications Degree holder, currently working as an online Marketing Representative for JERRY ANGPING: Leadership and Company Culture.

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