Why your firm may benefit from simple rules

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What are simple rules?

Simple rules are very simple policies or routines that you can communicate in one sentence. They may include:

  • Clear your desk at night (a simple rule in the context of hot-desking or desk-sharing).
  • Alert a supervisor if the machine breaks
  • No items should be placed on the floor
  • Always empty the bins when they are full
  • Place new items at the back of the rack

As indicated, simple rules can clearly be explained and communicated. This is in comparison to more complicated instructions, with exceptions and often exceptions to those exceptions. Simple rules seek to gain the vast majority of the benefit of more complicated procedures – with many advantages coming from their simplicity. 

What are the benefits of simple rules

Easy to communicate

The first advantage of simple rules is that they are easy to share. Having a limited number of simple rules can be shared in a matter of minutes, bringing new employees up-to-speed on some of the most important parts of their job in a matter of minutes. 

Easy to understand

As well as being easy to share, simple rules are easy to understand. Everyone, from the top of the firm to the bottom of the organization can understand simple rules. While the reason for them is often self-evident, if justification is requested, it is often easy to provide “no items should be placed on the floor to avoid trip hazards”. 

Easy to follow

Simple rules are also easy to follow. If there are lots of exceptions, it can be come difficult to work out which case you are in – whether this is an exception, or possibly an exception to that exception. If you keep instructions simple and consistent, they can easily be followed. 

Easy to monitor

A final benefit of simple rules is that they are easy to monitor. While if there are many exceptions to the rules it can be challenging for someone to know if the reason that a routine is not being followed is because it is an exception, if rules are simple then an observer can quickly tell whether they are being adhered to. 

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