Ever since I got my first job, I always wanted freedom. I didn’t want to work like a slave for a corporation. Every single time I took a job, I wanted to make sure that I could choose when and where to work. That is within reason of course. I had to go to meetings and they are, for the sake of convenience, scheduled. But flexible workforce is coming and it’s a good thing.
Not everyone can work from home.
I know that some jobs can’t offer flexibility in worktime. I am thinking of the lady at the register at the supermarket who needs to be present when the store is open. The same goes for the men and women working in restaurants. Maybe someday a system will be invented to make that possible for those people as well. We are already seeing self-service check out registers in the supermarkets.
Getting mangers to think that flexible workforce is a good idea.
I have talked to managers about giving their employees the flexibility to choose. Many of them, do not want to let loose, because they do not “trust” their force to be productive. They are afraid that working time well be spend on shopping, going to the park with the kids or household deeds. It’s best if they can keep an eye on their employees.
How to misuse the work from home scheme.
I was once working for a company, where you could work from home, if it made sense. Quickly it didn’t make sense anymore. People started to have fixed work from home days. It could be every Wednesday. At one time, at had to book a meeting with one of my colleagues from another department. My calendar was very booked at that time, so I suggested the only gap that I could find. My colleague told me that it was not possible, because that was her weekly work-from-home day. I got very upset, because, the rule was that you could work from home if it made sense. I argued, that this didn’t made sense to her manager. The meeting was scheduled to another day.
New management, new rules.
Yahoo have always been one the companies that had a flexible workstyle. All of that ended in February 2013. Marissa Mayer gave the order to move all remote workers into a Yahoo location. The reason was that some employees was to anonymous to rest of the organization. They have been working for Yahoo for years, but no one knew them. This meant that the work-from-home workstyle got a bad name in the company. All these people, that was strangers for the rest of the company, had to have a manager. I wonder what happened to them?
Nevertheless, as everything else, things can go out of control. If you have remote workers or if give people flexible hours, you need to manage these people differently and learn to trust that these people are giving their best even though you are not watching them.
You can always become a freelance consultant
Not really. I have offered my services to companies around the world and they want me to come on-site. When I ask why, they just say it gives them more peace of mind. I think it’s more a question about the surveillance of your workforce.
Why is being flexible important?
I don’t think that anyone is in doubt about my opinion about flexible workplace. Over the years, we have seen consumers, more or less, taken over the choice when it comes to devices. I do believe that the next generation that enters the labor market have other expectations to their workplace. If the company isn’t ready, they going to get an issue when it comes to finding people that wants to work for them. In time, they will either surrender to the flexible way of working or they struggle to stay alive.
I do believe that giving people freedom to choose and let them work as they wish will give companies a more productive workforce. I do hope that more mangers and companies will start to look at giving their employees a better workplace. Giving employees a flexible workplace is another way of managing. Clearly something you do not learn when you study for a MBA degree.
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