Work – Something you do, not a place you go!
Author: Doug Hawkins
Are you working for a company that still insists you’re at the office every day? It amazes me in this age to see managers insist on their staff being at the office every day, arriving and departing at fixed times. In a world where we have so many outstanding collaboration technologies at our disposal, there are still traditional managers who think employees are only at work if at their office desk.
It brings into question the definition of ‘at work’. I have seen lots of people in company offices during the day but in my opinion, many are not ‘at work’. Likewise, I see some of the most productive and professional people doing their best work from home, cafes, hotel lobbies, on the train or up in the air.
Work is something you do, not a destination. So much time is lost commuting just to appease managers’ insecurities. Decent managers provide their employees with clear direction, objectives, tools and the support they need to deliver results.
Office seat time is not a KPI
To be clear, I am not saying everyone should work from home or that mobility is feasible in any job. Some people prefer to work in a company office and there are many jobs where one must be at the work location and around colleagues. But people need to be trained, enabled and trusted to do their job however they see fit. Mobility is real and we now have the tools to enable maximum productivity.
People are more time poor and stressed than ever. Smart employers recognise this and allow employees to work in a way that maximises the individual’s productivity. No set hours or addresses, and no need to spend 10 hours a week commuting to a location only to do the same work you could have done at home.
Smart companies are encouraging mobile working, flexible hours and the use of collaboration tools. And they provide an environment of trust and support. But even today there are still many companies that won’t allow working from home or wrap the possibility up in policy that makes an employee lose a full day getting approvals. These companies risk losing the race for the limited supply of increasingly demanding quality talent who can get their job done without sitting directly next to their colleagues.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. There’s always someone who abuses flexibility and trust. But those people may have never been a real asset to the business regardless of how early they’ve been getting to the office. If clear expectations are set, and outcomes are measured, mobile working will quickly reveal these persons’ laziness.
Those who abuse flexible working can run. But with good management, they can’t hide
The good news is, the number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past five years. However, still only 7% of all employers in the United States offer work from home flexibility. According to research by Fundera, two-thirds of managers’ report that employees who work from home increase their overall productivity. Even more, 86% of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone – devoid of distractions like inefficient meetings, office gossip, group coffee breaks, or loud office spaces.
Working from home statistics suggest that companies who offer flexible working options for employees have lower turnover rates. In a recent Stanford University study, employers who offered a work from home option had employee turnover rates fall by over 50%.
Furthermore, how can any employer expect to attract and retain emerging talent and the new generation of employees? If you’re looking to attract and retain emerging, it’s absolutely essential to consider opening up your benefits to include work from home flexibility.
In fact, out of all the benefits that make a work environment fun, casual, and flexible (regular social activities, casual dress code, free snacks and drinks, etc.), working from home benefits are most important to young job seekers.
68% of millennial job seekers say a work from home option would greatly influence their interest in working for a company.
Work from home statistics show that 82% of homeworkers reported lower stress levels. Less stress means happier and more loyal and engaged employees. Further studies have shown that 80% of mobile workers report higher morale and increased productivity.
My advice? Create an environment to enable flexible mobile working and empower your people. It saves money and increases productivity.
Remember: Work is something you do, not an address!
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