How will you be working in the future?
The advance of technology has totally redesigned our approach to how, where and when we work, accelerating much smarter working practices. Increasingly, it’s enabling us to fit our work around our personal lives – some individuals will favour a four-day week, others may wish to job share and others still may prefer to work at home or in a collaborative working place rather than an office.
This new world of work is empowering individuals to take more control over their time and family lives and juggle their busy schedules. When they need to be at home for a repair technician, for instance, they can be. When they need to pick up their sick child from school, no problem. Overall, mental health improves and stress decreases: in a recent study by TINYpulse, remote workers reported an average happiness level at work of 8.10, higher than the average for workers across the board (7.42). Dell’s aim is to have half its workforce working remotely by 2020 if they choose.
Other businesses find their staff are more productive when physically in the office together, yet they have managed to reduce their working week. Gothenburg-based Filimundus for instance, introduced a six-hour day in 2015. During the day, social networking isn’t allowed and meetings are kept to a minimum so that staff can be motivated to work more intensively while in the office.
Of course, face-to-face communication is still of critical importance. Collaboration can take place naturally and in-person requests are 34 times more successful than email requests. If the organisation is built on services or people; this face-to-face time can make the difference between securing a new deal or losing the business.
Working smarter, not longer
However, individuals choose to work, managers need to ensure that they’re considering their employees’ overall wellbeing. Smarter working means working more efficiently, but there is no reason why people can’t work fewer hours and be as effective. At a time when checking emails in bed has become something of an addiction for many, and overwork has become the norm – and is even admired in many organizations, employers must ensure they’re getting the most out of their staff without overworking them. Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily equate to greater productivity, and can actually have a negative impact on our health and ability to do our job.
Thinking about staff welfare, managers must consider lifestyle benefits, but also the technology that will enable greater flexibility in the workplace. Equipping staff with the tools to work how they want, when they want, will result in a happier, healthier workforce, a key factor in driving profits and boosting the wider economy.
Do you split your working week between home and the office? Or other locations? We’d love to hear from you on what your ideal working preferences are!