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Menial issues now becoming massive headaches for workplaces as people return to the office

According to Peter Grist, one of Australia’s most respected experts in the training and development sector, as workplaces across the country bring workers back to the office small issues are becoming big problems and creating significant productivity concerns for businesses.

  • Poor dress
  • Tardiness
  • Hygiene
  • Language
  • Physical appearance
  • Inappropriate language

“These issues may sound trivial, but when you are part of a team working with people day in and day out, these things start to grind on people’s nerves and can cause massive implosions.  Even worse, if these people are representing businesses at stakeholder, client and new business meetings, these issues can be extremely damaging for a brand.  Business can be lost,” Grist said.

“Some of these issues are not easy to navigate either. Businesses are chewing up a lot of time dealing with these things which is both uncomfortable and unproductive.  Many managers do not have the skills required to address these issues from a communication point of view which is making matters worse.”

Peter Grist is the managing director of Australian corporate coaching and training business, GRIST, which works with many household brands. GRIST is the creator of an innovative online training and coaching course for managers called The GIST – which features high impact humour-based learning modules delivered by entertainment icons including Shane Jacobson. The GIST is designed to help businesses across all industries coach managers to be better leaders and achieve improved team and organisational outcomes by empowering managers to enable small and progressive behavioural changes across their teams on an ongoing basis. 

“The reality is that while people have been working from home during the pandemic, many have acclimatised to the new normal of not being in the office and adjusted their behaviour and personal practices accordingly,” Grist said.

“Turning up to team ZOOM meets in PJs or casual wear has become commonplace. People have become so relaxed about working from home that their dress, language, presentation and appearance has dropped from being business-like to casual weekend-like.

“These habits have become entrenched and now that people are returning to the office, they are not returning with pre-pandemic office behaviours. They are still operating as if they are sitting at home.

“In addition, workplaces have undergone quite a bit of change. New people have come on board, others have moved on, individual values and expectations have changed also. As a result workplace culture has become diluted and fractured.

“Workplace norms form part of an organisation’s culture and values.  How do you foster these norms over ZOOM?

“Building a team and assisting staff to embrace an organisation’s values takes time and leadership. Leadership requires people to understand and be able to share and coach values with team members in a meaningful and practical way.

“Over the last three years, people have lost the art of leadership.  As a result, we are seeing menial issues escalate into big problems because managers don’t know how to address and solve these things in person in the workplace; quite simply put, they don’t have the communication skills.

“Managers urgently need help in how to lead and address and resolve team issues. They need to be coached in how to manage and lead people in the workplace and how to have hard conversations.

“I’d like to think we all know how to solve behavioural issues but the reality is unless you know how to communicate and engage in a collaborative and respectful manner, you are not going to be able to develop and implement solutions in a successful way.

“Unfortunately many workplaces are being consumed by these ‘back to the office’ issues and it is taking businesses away from their real work.  Productivity is suffering. 

“My strong advice to organisations including businesses of all sizes is, get training – but not just any training, good quality online training that focuses on the power of micro-behaviours. Help your managers to enable small and progressive behavioural changes across their teams on an ongoing basis. We call this the ‘progress principle’. This will not only compound positive change, it will ignite intrinsic motivation in people.

“The ‘progress principle’ empowers leaders to translate their desired outcomes into achievable, small steps. As people see the impact of these micro-changes, they unlock their potential, tap into a growth mindset, and become more invested in their work. These small changes, applied consistently and aggregated across a large group, drive measurable outcomes and can truly transform teams and organisations.”


For over 30 years, GRIST has been Australia’s trusted corporate leadership trainers. The company has a national presence, with consultants based in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Christchurch, New Zealand. Notable clients include ANZ, Westpac, Australia Post, Energy Australia, and Allianz amongst many others.


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