Do you want to be in charge of your own time instead of working in a set time frame every day? Do you work better at night or early in the morning and struggle to keep awake in the office? Well, thanks to changing mindsets and the emergence of new technology, this is now an option for many workplaces, and it's having a big impact on productivity.
Changing the status quo
We are no longer in the era where people have to be physically present in order to get results. In the past, people worked with their hands, and so the number of hours at the workplace equated to the amount of physical work done. However, with recent technological advancements, people can now work from virtually anywhere as long as they have a gadget and an Internet connection. Despite this, the same rules of being physically present as a way of broadcasting one’s productivity still apply - it’s a deeply ingrained notion. Although people have become more aware of ‘presenteeism’, and that it’s an empty gesture compared to real outcomes and results, it seems many of us are still guilty of it.
Transforming the workplace
HR is crucially tasked, then, with evolving the mindsets of employees and managers to work better in a more modern and applicable way. An example would be the Result Only Work Environment (ROWE) adopted by many companies (including 33 Talent!) that does away with the concept of time translating into the amount of work done.
The focus then shifts to results; whether work is done or not. What HR has had to do to make this a success was to completely reconstruct attitudes about work. For example, one of the exercises for companies adopting ROWE asks employees to come up with all the Sludge (workplace chatter to shame people for not conforming to traditional workplace practices) that they have heard or said in the workplace. Once it is out in the open, it sounds petty and wrong. Employees are then encouraged to point it out when someone says it and in return be conscious of not saying it to others. If implemented correctly, ROWE employees have proven to be healthier, happier and less stressed. Workers are able to better manage all other aspects of their lives instead of scheduling them around work. More importantly, productivity increases because time is spent wisely instead of being wasted on office politics.
Good news for non-ROWE companies
Even if companies are not moving towards an extreme form of flexible working like ROWE, they have been constantly evolving over the years due to changing expectations and perspectives. The atmosphere has become more informal, employees are no longer required to wear a suit and tie or a skirt and heels anymore and many outdated routines are becoming obsolete. The point is that appearance does not play that big a role in determining productivity anymore - rejoice!