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6 Bizarre Office Rules You Won’t Believe Are Real

When you think of office rules, you probably think of things like dress codes, codes of conduct, etc. — basically, rules that keep people from embarrassing the company or hurting their coworkers.
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Your employer’s rules are influenced by their corporate culture, and will vary accordingly. But for the most part, office rules are pretty standard across the board.

At least, that’s what I thought, until I stumbled upon this treasure trove of bizarre and ridiculous office rules people have shared on Reddit. If you think your office is strict, be glad that you don’t have any of these bizarre rules.

Absences Due to Unforeseen Circumstances Require Approval in Advance.

At one company, you have to get approval from your manager in advance of an unforeseen circumstance. User yeesh_kabab explains:

In theory, we are allotted three personal absences a year — which covers “unforeseen circumstances” like a family emergency, car troubles, sick kid, etc. But in order to be approved, you need to get consent from the manager in advance. No one I know has ever actually been approved in advance for their unforeseen emergency.

If You Need a New Pen, Submit a Request to Your Department Head for Approval.

At most offices, when you need a pen, you just get up and go get a pen. You don’t typically have to go through the entire company chain of command to get such a trivial item. But that’s not what NicolasCage4ever discovered when he started his new job.

I once needed a pen. Figured this was a reasonable ask. Went to the supply closet on my floor, which was locked. Asked the floor’s admin, she told me to go to the main supply room in the basement. Went to the basement and explained my situation of needing a pen. They told me all requests for supplies must be approved by my department head. Problem is, being new, I’d never met my department head. She also worked in San Francisco (I worked in Milwaukee), so I needed to send an email both introducing myself, and asking her if I had permission to get a pen from the supply closet.

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No Games Allowed, Except for Fantasy Football.

This might be the one example on this list that inspires a tinge of jealousy. User SpanishImpostion explains that where he works, fantasy football literally rules.

All recreational activity is forbidden on company time and resources … except fantasy football.

No Looking Out the Windows.

Even the most driven employees look out the windows at work now and then, to see how the outside world is holding up. If you work in a building made entirely of glass, it’s especially hard to avoid. User goatsofwrath relates:

Two weeks after I left my previous job, a memo went round saying people aren’t allowed to look out of the windows at work anymore. It’s a big-a** glass building.

Redditors were quick to question the reason for having such a ridiculous rule. Goatsofwrath explains:

Apparently it was “unprofessional.” The new manager came in and made a bunch of ridiculous rules. I’d been there almost two years at that time and couldn’t be arsed anymore within a month of her being there.

Do Not Lick the Pesticides.

You wouldn’t think that a job involving dangerous chemicals would need to have such a rule. You’d think wrong. As one user shared:

I used to own a pest control company. One day I walked into one of our bays and found a technician licking the inside of a cap from a bottle of herbicide. When asked, he told me that he just wanted to know how it tastes. I told him that any future pesticides will taste like unemployment and created a “no ingesting pesticide” rule complete with signs.

You Get a Maximum of 10 Minutes Per Day for Toilet Breaks.

It’s one thing to have a maximum time for work breaks throughout the day. But a maximum time you’re allowed to use the bathroom? That’s pretty insane. User a__dead__man seems to agree, according to his own experience.

I used to work for Amazon in Ireland and their toilet breaks were crazy. Maximum of 10 minutes a day but also a max of 20 minutes per week. You had to change the status on your computer so everything was recorded and some managers would call you out on it and even go as far as threaten your job. I had an understanding with my manager and told him that if I need to take a s*** then I’m going for it. Like any good manager, he just told me that as long as I give him the numbers he wants then I could do what I want.

Posts have been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Tell Us What You Think

Does your office have any strange or annoying rules you’d like to share? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!


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