‘CoronaVirus’, Restructuring workforce Flexibility
43% survey respondents chose ‘Flexibility’ as the most important perk.
“..Employees are looking for purpose and meaning in both professional and personal aspects, and are actively seeking employers which encourage this culture. Over the past few years, we are witnessing a huge rise in employees quitting due to "burn-out", which was recognized as a health epidemic by the National Health Org in 2019. Employers are now expected to take stand in current social struggles, supporting important activism where governments are lacking (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2019)...ongoing technology leaps, atomization, global warming, governmental political matters, are just a handful of the current and future realities, we must aim to align with.” The above is from my ‘Perks. Are they actually?’ survey report, published a couple months ago. And then came Corona.
Corona is the unpredictable game-changing event that shoves you out of your comfort zone and commands you to evolve or be left behind. Agility towards flexibility is a reality dictation. The viral satellite picture now showing the huge reduction of pollution over China, proves how immediate results can be.
Dana E. Friedman brilliantly defined flexibility as “a way to define how and when work gets done and how careers are organized". Which basically means you do not give a fuck what time or day your employees get their work done, nor does this affect, delay or block their career path. 'Flexibility' generates and promotes an equality based culture, encourages knowledge sharing, reduces stress and is a leap into the overdue, modern workforce. A glance on some of potential positive impacts:
* Easier Access to the Workforce - This will provide many potential employees who belong to disabled and overlooked communities, the opportunity to easily merge into the workforce, aligned to their skill set and capacity, rather than which orgs are accessible to their needs. * Minimize bias factors * Promote diversity and equality * Environmental Advocate - less cars on roads, less pollution, less traffic, less commute time * Human Advocate - reduce stress, encourage growth, provide meaning, avoid ‘burn-out’
Embracing flexibility as a core value, requires leaders with a strong sense of self confidence.
Not flexibility: “I don’t care when you work, just make sure to be at the office everyday between these hours”. “We allow employees to work one permanent day from home”. “We allow employees to leave early twice a week to pick up their children, knowing they’ll be back online after putting their kids to sleep”.
As an employer, putting limits on flexibility for you to maintain a sense of control, is not nurturing authentic flexibility. In my previous post, I created a relevant checklist and internal communications email template. Now that you’ve created and communicated your policy, let’s tackle the workflow logistics and solutions, needed to successfully embrace flexibility as an Org.
Use corona as an opportunity to insert flexibility to the work environment, not struggle; * Clear expectations must be set and communicated. * (Re)Defining Roles & Responsibility * Quarterly OKRs
* Documentation of all processes, openly shared * Shared Sheets instead of DM’s * Surfacing bottlenecks and why they are created
* Improving workflow * Preparation and message clarity
* Consider paying for upgraded home internet.
TIP - The first line of every template or shared sheet should include the initiators explanatory example.
This is an excellent time to test a variety of video/audio communication platforms, plus Webex just announced free use and I expect others to jump on this opportunity.
Not quite sure how to approach or where to begin? Imagine someone needs to fill in for your three week vacation, in which you will be entirely offline and you lost your voice before the handover. Write down the step by step and include why you take each approach, include backup plans, think of unlikely events that may unexpectedly happen and how/who you would approach in each case. A mindset is a very powerful muscle. Were you taught to see challenge as an opportunity, or a roadblock? Believe that ‘this is how things have been and will continue to be’?
What’s the actual difference between being present at the workplace, yet not actively working for accumulated hours, provides employers a (often false) sense of control?
Companies have the power to create impacting immediate change. The tools to provide meaning for its employees. A great and current example is single-use-plastics. We are witnessing companies updating policies towards an eco-friendly work environment. Being innovative involves spotting trends, creating opportunities, and taking risks.
Which creative solutions have you been trying out?