Mobility and flexible working arrangements go hand in hand
Many employees regularly work after the standard workday ends and work at least one weekend every month. Why are some employees compelled (or motivated) to be “always on”? It could be because they love their work and find fulfilment in pursuing work goals when and where they want. Or it could be because of unhealthy pressures and cultural norms associated with the business. It’s critical to know which it is before assuming it’s a true engagement or impending burnout (The best way to know is to ask).
If you find it’s closer to burnout than nirvana, it could be that you are setting a bad example. Some stay connected to the job during time away which is fine if it’s fun, but not so great if it’s stressful. While some never take their laptop on holidays, they do think about their work, at least until they have had at least a week to unwind.
The workplace must be fun
Today people are looking for more instant gratification and fun in the workplace. As they become more familiar with information technology and communications (ITC), opportunities start to emerge. Business can be won or lost with the click of a mouse. Those who can work from anywhere, at any time and who aren’t tied to their desks can be physically on the case and much more responsive to customers.
Mobility is about working from wherever you need to be. It can be the beach, in a coffee shop with a client or colleague, in a taxi, while waiting for an aeroplane or while commuting.
Not only is the ITC strengthening collaboration, but it’s also creating a sense of community even when employees aren’t physically in the same place. Making the best use of technology is what makes mobility possible. We have all come a long way towards allowing this to happen for everyone’s benefit. Things such as video-conferencing and mobile internet are now commonplace.
Employees are asking for flexible working arrangements to help them care for their children or sick relatives. http://goo.gl/OvN8DJ. Flexible working arrangements could involve:
- Changing hours of work e.g. working fewer hours or changing start or finish times.
- Changing patterns of work e.g. working ‘split shifts’ or job sharing.
- Making changes to the place of work e.g. working from home.
Define what employee flexibility means
Employees can feel like they’re cheating their employer when they switch between personal and professional time. So for flexible working hours to succeed, you need to focus on goals instead of hours on the clock. As the millennial generation enters into employment, they will reshape the world of work as they begin their working lives. What are the hopes and expectations of this generation and are you ready?
Most importantly, do you need to revise your current strategies to meet the coming changes in the way people want to work? For the new generations that will soon become the majority of the workforce, flexible work hours and personal fulfilment are more important than more money.
The traditional workday is a thing of the past
People can and are starting to work in increasing numbers, when and where it is best for them and their family and lifestyle. As long as they get their work done, meet their deadlines, and achieve their goals everyone should be happy. Both you and your employees will reap the full benefits of the flexibility that being more mobile brings.
Unfortunately, many employers fall short when it comes to setting clear goals with and for their employees. Why not try regularly meeting with your employees to set goals and deadlines and to help them with their progress, without micromanaging. Keep communication open so everyone’s on the same page and comfortable with their workload.
Create clear policies, and communicate with employees, providing tips to help them integrate personal and professional time and arrive at a good work/life balance. Many won’t know what mobility and flexibility mean to your business unless you tell them. Does your flexible culture allow employees to come and go as they please? Or should they be available during set hours?
Clear policies and expectations will help all employees understand their boundaries, which minimise guilt and improve job satisfaction. Just as you like to celebrate success in performance and meeting objectives, celebrate the person who maximises mobility and is always refreshing.
“There is great demand everywhere in the world for individual mobility. People like the fact they are not on somebody else’s schedule. They can come and go as they please”. William Clay Ford Jr
“As far as income goes, there are three currencies in the world; most people ignore two. The three currencies are time, income and mobility, in descending order of importance. Most people focus exclusively on income”. Tim Ferris