“One of the secret benefits of using remote workers is that the work itself becomes the yardstick to judge someone’s performance.” — Jason Fried, Published Author of Office Not Required.
Flexible and remote working is fast becoming the new norm. Many organisations have already started allowing their employees to work remotely for a specific number of days. While not every leader may be ready to embrace this type of culture just yet, there’s no question that this is where things are headed.
Why haven’t all leaders and CEO’s committed to this modern way of working? For some, it comes down to the challenge of adapting management techniques to make it work. Some leaders fear that:
- Team members cannot be trusted to be as productive at home as they are at work
- Deadlines will be missed and there may not be accountability
- Communication will lapse and it will be harder to gain access to information when they need it
With all that said, if organisations approach flexible working with the right mindset, it can bring huge benefits for all. Flexible working can in fact boost productivity and morale.
Why should leaders embrace flexible working?
1. It boosts productivity
The absence of a tedious commute means more time to dedicate to important tasks. People start their day in less of a rush and gain time. People tend to be more efficient when there is less pressure to be rushing from one place to another.
2. It promotes work-life balance
Flexible working gives people more time at home and more time with their families. Flexibility boosts work life balance which in turn promotes well-being and happy workers are more focused and productive.
3. It increases morale
Flexibility is a morale booster, it reduces stress and creates higher levels of morale and contentment. It gives people greater freedom to manage their health and well-being, for example gaining more time to get to the gym or doctor. Those who have greater control over their work and personal lives will feel more positive about work overall.
Technology supports and demands flexible working
Technology is transforming the way we work and has a huge impact on how we communicate and collaborate at work and it enables flexible workers to be more productive than ever before. The use of video conferencing, social networks, instant messenger, mobile and internet communications strengthens communications between leaders and their team and literally makes it possible to collaborate with people anywhere in the world. Communication tools such as Skype and Slack make it easier than ever to unite with your team virtually. Project management tools such as Asana and Trello make it easier to successfully coordinate with and manage a virtual team. Google docs and Worksheets help remote teams to work on projects interactively.
Change can be difficult to accept but it is inevitable. Leaders must adapt along with emerging technology and enable innovation to stay competitive. The traditional 9–5 is declining as organisations lean towards flexible working and the best solution is to embrace it and to discover ways to use it to its best advantage.
Tania Watson is the founder of Creative Coaching and an executive coach, organisational consultant and leadership specialist. Creative Coaching is a successful company dedicated to the development of senior leaders in organisations through one to one coaching, intact team development and group facilitation. If you or someone from your organisation would like to have a no obligation conversation about how Creative Coaching may be able to help, please email Tania directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.