If you’re entrusted by your company to use company-labelled stuff, you should respect that trust and think about your actions, not just from a personal point of view but a corporate. Bear with me – just want to have a rant to explain a point.
It’s bad enough to see an adult misbehaving where others, perhaps children, can see. If an adult is rude or unthinking and a child sees it, it reinforces that behaviour as acceptable to the child. If that adult is the child’s parent you have little control, but what grates is that if you have your own children present they also can be influenced by it. Again, it can be hard to do anything about it except to talk to your kids about it later.
But one thing you CAN do is respond to the actions of someone acting under a corporate banner. Consider these three examples of recent behaviour I have experienced:
1. A big four-wheel drive truck/ute thing sped past me this morning, undertaking the main lane of traffic in a left lane that isn’t very long – he made 3, perhaps 4 spots in the queue, judging by the fact that I was able to follow him for the next 5km and take down his company details, emblazoned on the back of the vehicle. This was on the very edge of a school zone, smack bang in the middle of "school zone time" so it wasn’t like we were going slow intentionally, and his reckless driving endangered school kids. While I followed him for the next few kilometres I thought about the fallout of this action of his, making up my mind that I probably wouldn’t use that company for any construction I need doing in the near future.
When we got near to my own kids’ school and he proceeded to do it again, travelling at least 60kph in the 40 zone, with school kids quite visible on both sides of the road, I made the decision to not only NOT use this company but to tell my family and friends about them – why on earth should his company benefit from his reckless endangerment of children’s lives?
If he had just been driving a personal vehicle, I would have still been as frustrated but it would have been at an inconsiderate individual. Now it reflects badly on his company, losing them potential business.
2. A guy wearing a business shirt with his company logo monogrammed on the breast pocket roughly pushed past me in the fruit/veg section of the local supermarket. He didn’t apologise and he obviouly didn’t care that he had knocked my groceries from my hands. In fact, he turned and snarled at me for being an idiot and then stormed off. Am I going to use that particular firm to do my tax returns? No, I don’t think so.
If he had been wearing a plain shirt, I would have still been upset, but his behaviour would have been recognised as personal behaviour, not one that was reflective of the company he worked for and was effectively representing in wearing that shirt.
3. I was driving on the freeway between Gosford and Sydney at the speed limit (thanks to my awesome cruise control) and was passed by a Tarago van. It was going at least 20-30kph faster than I was at the rate it passed me, so we’re talking around 140kph in a 110kph zone. If it was just a plain, unmarked Tarago, I would have thought the usual "idiot, hope you get booked before you get hurt" kind of thing I often think when I see these people taking the risk.
But, no, it wasn’t. As you can probably guess, it was labelled on sides and fronts with the business name who owned it. But you’re probably thinking it was a tradesmen’s van or something and that’s where you’ll likely be surprised (shocked was my reaction). It was the name of a kids preschool, and the van was used for transporting kids to different activities.
I won’t be sending my kids to that school and I will be doing my best to make sure none of my friends and family do either. Risking kids’ lives just so you can get to your destination a little quicker is one of the more insane ideas people can have, and to do it under a professional banner SHOULD result in a loss of business.
In all three cases, if it was a personal action, I would eventually shrug and move on. However, all three situations are of company representatives showing their behaviour as being demonstrative of their company. Now, yes, the fallout to this kind of thing might be that you lose only a very small segment but why would you willingly give up any potential customers?
Being given the privelege of advertising the company you work for, don’t abuse it. You never know what could happen.
I should add that in a virtualised office this could be even more of a problem. You’re likely to be out and about more often, and wearing/driving/using business-branded things will be more visible.