The Flexibility of the Future

Flexible working arrangements and remote working is a big attractor for talent these days and this trend is set to become the norm in the future.  With geographical boundaries being a problem of the past, it has been predicted that the traditional office work space and office hours will change dramatically.

The concept of 9-5 is a remnant of the industrial revolution; where it was necessary for people to be in the same space at the same time in order to manufacture products.  Technology, globalisation and the internet has rendered this concept outmoded and unnecessary.  In the future, workers will be individual agents, who set their own hours and meet in different spaces to collaborate on projects. Offices will become communal spaces where this collaboration can occur.  The focus of the future, and indeed for forward-thinking businesses already, is the quality of output, not the hours put in.

For some companies, this idea is scary.  How can managers do their job if they don’t see their employees every day?  How can managers be sure their employees are not slacking off? 

If this concept fills you with anxiety, you’ve probably identified the problem incorrectly.  The problem is not that your employees will be managing their own hours. The problem is that you do not trust your employees. This in turn, leads to the crux of the issue; if you think leaving your employees to manage themselves will have them slacking off, perhaps you have an engagement problem?

Here are our tips to help managers adjust to the concept of true flexibility:

  • Firstly, ensure you’ve hired the right people who are engaged and committed to your company’s vision.
  • Provide clear objectives and expectations of your staff.
  • Treat your employees like the adults they are and they will return your trust with commitment and loyalty.
  • Give constructive feedback regularly and reward successful outcomes.
  • Focus on the quality of output, delivered within the agreed time-frames.

The evolution of the workplace is inevitable and we can already see this change occurring in both big and small businesses.  We see the perception of what it means to have a career changing in the minds of our candidates.  Our last edition of thePoint talked about The Portfolio Career – a very real and increasingly common choice for people nowadays who seek self-determination, self-actualisation and different challenges.  This is the wave of change and companies and managers who are not riding it, will find themselves under it. What are your thoughts?  Join us on our LinkedIn Group to share your opinion!