One question we’re often asked when talking with organizations about changing the way they work is, “So you’re just trying to get people to telework or have flexible hours?”
Actually, no. Teleworking and flex schedules are great for lots of employees who need freedom from a physical office location or need to adjust their work hours to meet their other commitments.
But at MatchPace, we want to see much deeper organizational change for our clients.
What if you could design a workday that rewarded efficiency and actual outcomes, not time clocked? What if doing so gave you valuable hours back into your day while making your team more productive?
There’s a reason why “telework” is often surrounded by "air quotes." Most people assume that employees working remotely are “working,” not actually working. That assumption is, of course, sometimes true. But the perception that some employees are getting off easy negatively affects morale at the office and can leave remote employees feeling disconnected. And when it is true, it's a huge drain on your organization's effectiveness.
With telework and flex hours, the power often lies with the employer, not the employee. Some companies view alternative arrangements as “favors” they are doing for their employees. The employer-employee relationship should be mutually beneficial, not a one-way street.
Even more importantly, today’s economy has moved beyond the factory floor. Instead of shift work, we largely do knowledge-based work that requires collaboration, communication and creativity. When we expect employees to work “off hours,” like responding to emails on weekends or late at night, we actually slow our communication cycles and interrupt the workflow of our teams. You’re ultimately wasting time waiting for someone’s response, likely the next morning, instead of saving time. And because that response comes many hours delayed, you lose creativity, momentum, and effectiveness.
Are you convinced yet? One more important point: knowledge-based work is about focus. We’re just not good at eliminating distractions on our own. When we’re tired, bored, or frustrated, we turn to Facebook or water cooler talk instead of digging deep and getting work done. You don’t need to block social media or track your employees’ browser history, but you do need to provide a work environment where focus on effectiveness is rewarded, there's the opportunity for spontaneous collaboration, and you can stay on the same page about the expected outcome.
Take IBM: the pioneering tech giant just called back thousands of remote employees to one of their regional offices, arguing that getting their employees back into the same physical space will "improve collaboration and accelerate the pace of work." We agree: remote work and flex time may meet some of your employees' needs, but those circumstances don't always meet the needs of your organization. Instead, we want to look to organizational change that allows your team to be more focused, accomplishing more in less time.
Ultimately, expecting your team to work on roughly the same schedule, in the same place, with minimal distractions in an environment that rewards outcomes instead of hours worked will keep your employees on the same communication cycle, allow for collaboration and creativity, and get more accomplished in less time.
It may sound like a dream, but we can help you make it a reality!