Get out of the office and get a flexible workforce

Ever since I got my first job, I have 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 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 a 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 work time. 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. We are already seeing self-service checkout registers in supermarkets.

Getting managers to think that a flexible workforce is a good idea.

I have talked to managers about giving their employees the flexibility to choose. Many do not want to let loose because they do not “trust” their force to be productive. They fear working time will be spent shopping, visiting the park with the kids, or doing household deeds. It’s best if they can keep an eye on their employees.

How to misuse the work-from-home scheme.

I once worked 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 then, so I suggested the only gap I could find. My colleague told me it was impossible 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 make sense to her manager. The meeting was scheduled for another day.

New management, new rules.

Yahoo has always been one of the companies that had a flexible work style. All of that ended in February 2013. Marissa Mayer ordered to move of all remote workers into a Yahoo location. The reason was that some employees were too anonymous to the rest of the organization. They have worked 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 were strangers to the rest of the company had to have a manager. I wonder what happened to them?

Nevertheless, as with everything else, things can go out of control. If you have remote workers or 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 worldwide, and they want me to come on-site. When I ask why, they 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 doubts my opinion about a flexible workplace. Over the years, we have seen consumers, more or less, take over the choice of devices. I believe that the next generation that enters the labor market has other expectations of their workplace. If the company isn’t ready, it will get an issue when finding people that want to work for them. In time, they will surrender to the flexible working method or struggle to stay alive.

Giving people the freedom to choose and letting them work as they wish will give companies a more productive workforce. I hope that more managers and companies will start looking at giving their employees a better workplace. Giving employees a flexible workplace is another way of managing. Something you do not learn when you study for an MBA degree.

The Solution

With Citrix technology, you can offer mobile workstyles to your workforce. With Citrix XenApp, you can deliver applications and data securely to your users. With Citrix Sharefile, you can easily share files with people inside the organization and people from outside as well.

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