Discipline is crucial to organizational success. It fuels productivity, reduces conflict and prevents misconduct in the workplace. As a manager, it is your responsibility to enforce office discipline rules and make sure that all employees comply. Otherwise, you might end up dealing with conflicts, workplace bullying, unethical behaviors and poor employee performance.


The best way to maintain discipline in the workplace is to set clear rules for all employees. Make sure your staff members understand the company's policies and code of conduct. Organize meetings to discuss these aspects and help your employees acknowledge the importance of workplace discipline.

Why Is Workplace Discipline Important?

Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: They are disciplined. These professionals plan their workflow, stick to their schedule and avoid distractions. They do not mind working extra hours as long as it serves their purpose. Discipline keeps them productive, increasing their chances of success in life and business.

This skill is also essential in the workplace. Disciplined employees are more likely to meet expectations, follow the rules and have good work relationships with their colleagues and supervisors. Several approaches exist to maintain discipline in HRM, or human resources management, including progressive and positive discipline. The former involves using a gradual approach to correct an employee's behavior, while the latter aims to change negative behaviors into positive ones through open communication without punishment.

Employers who enforce progressive discipline policies have a power-based relationship with their staff. For example, employees who fail their responsibilities or display negative behaviors may receive verbal and written warnings and can be punished for their mistakes. Positive discipline, by comparison, helps build trust between managers and their subordinates. This approach focuses on solving the problem and helping employees understand how it affects the organization.

Setting Office Discipline Rules

Whether you are a startup or a global company, it is vital to establish clear rules for your staff. They should know exactly what is expected from them, what kind of behavior is appropriate and the company's policies. Start by setting work rules that align with the organization's vision and goals. Discuss these rules at training sessions and meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The company's policies should be known by all employees. Also, make sure your staff members acknowledge the consequences of breaking them. Be clear about your expectations and refrain from giving preferential treatment to particular individuals or departments. Favoritism not only affects employee morale and performance, but it may also lead to lawsuits.

Keep it simple and to the point. It is better to have a few clear-cut rules than a bunch that no one will read. These should cover the standards of conduct as well as disciplinary procedures for bullying, tardiness, misuse of equipment, sexual harassment and other prohibited behaviors. Consider implementing a training program to help your employees understand the importance of discipline at the workplace and why those rules exist.

Use Fair Corrective Measures

Keep an open line of communication with your subordinates. Let them know what they are doing wrong and how their actions affect the workplace. When addressing negative behavior, provide constructive criticism and point to specific examples before asking for them to sign a disciplinary notice. Ideally, discuss it with each employee in a private space and try to find the root cause of the problem.

Beware that punitive disciplinary practices such as asking your employees to work extra hours or cutting their pay may cause them to take legal action against you for breach of the employment contract. Use reasonable corrective measures aimed at improving employee behavior.

Treat your staff members with respect and refrain from making threatening statements. Avoid talking down to them or saying hurtful things. Remember, your employees are your greatest asset. Give them a chance to clear their records and help them reach their full potential through discipline, teamwork and commitment.