“Work-from-Anywhere” – it’s a Strategy, not a Policy.
And here’s why …
The fact is … The World has Changed!
And, what’s more …
- It’s NOT going back
- It’s going to carry on changing, and
- We don’t know where we’ll be in the future – or even tomorrow?
What Research is Telling Us
The years 2020 and 2021 are being called the largest remote work experiment ever. And there is a lot of research coming from this “experiment”.
This research is telling us that, if managed effectively, remote workers are:
- More productive
- Produce more output
- Produce better quality output
- And, have significantly less absenteeism.
And their organisations:
- Experience a reduction in staff turnover, and
- Higher profitability.
Besides all the other facts, those facts alone should be enough for leaders and managers to want to make remote work a more significant factor in their organisation’s business and operating models.
But that’s not all:
It’s telling us that fully ONSITE teams are:
- Least likely to show high levels of engagement, trust or discretionary effort (that is quite contradictory to what some managers are saying)
- Least comfortable taking risks (maybe because there is less psychological safety in the office?)
- Least likely to provide opportunities to innovate
Yes, there is other research that tells us about burnout, employee morale, difficulty in maintaining company culture, etc. This research does not, however, explore WHY employees are experiencing burnout, why morale is low, why it’s difficult to maintain culture.
That would be far more interesting.
And, this is small body of research compared with the large body that shows huge benefits from remote work.
Why would any leader, with a mind to growing and sustaining a business, not want to achieve these results?
The thing is, you don’t achieve those kinds of results with policy.
You need a Strategy
Work is Changing
The way people work has changed for ever. We now have new and different expectations of work.
- Because technology is constantly improving – how and where we work is a moving target, not Status Quo
- We need to learn to manage Outcomes, the results, not the tasks. Monitoring employee activity is just not the way to go
- And, people are finding a better mix of work/life balance, rather than a regimented 9 to 5 worklife.
In another interesting piece of research by McKinsey Global Institute, it was found that it’s not about where people are … it’s about where the work is.
They did an analysis of 2000 tasks across 800 jobs in 9 countries and found that, the potential for remote work is determined by tasks and activities, not by occupations
And then there’s Digitalisation and the impact that is and will continue to have on work. According to McKinsey research, 70% of job activities in 20% of occupations can be automated with currently available technologies.
- Research also shows that two-thirds of organisations are considering moving from functional structures to value stream or project-based structures. This means a change from a well-organised structure of jobs, to structures capable of flexing when necessary which results in boosted productivity and internal mobility
- There is also a move from educational credentials as “markers” for hiring talent, to intrinsics. Research in IT shows a 0% correlation between academic achievement and professional success. Newer skills needed, such as creativity and initiative are becoming less correlated with formal education
- Using big data systems to capture information on competencies, tasks and performance are proving to be more effective in measuring abilities
- According to the World Economic Forum 2020 Future of Jobs report, the robot revolution will create 97million new jobs. But those jobs need different skills than are being used in traditional jobs today
- Also according to the World Economic Forum report, as many as 50% of staff need to be retrained in a new set of core skills.
How work will evolve over the next few years is a complex and unsettled question. Organisations need to set up more flexible structures, and employees need to develop learning agility to adapt to this new way of working.
You can’t achieve that with Policy … you need a Strategy!
Culture and Productivity
Research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that a majority of employers reported it hard to maintain employee morale with remote work, and one-third reported that it impacted company culture.
Simply transplanting processes from office to homes, or trying to use the same processes and communication methods with a remote workforce, does not work!
As Deniz Caglar, partner at PwC said: “Your culture is not your office – it’s what you do as an organisation, how you work together.”
This is what needs to change to accommodate a “Work-from-Anywhere” organisation.
And similarly, Presence is not Productivity!
If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter. When you’re in a remote environment, as you all know, it is extremely difficult to measure employee effort and time working – we call those input metrics. You have to use outcome metrics.
Being able to craft effective outcome metrics, rally your team around them, and manage your team to achieve them is a skillset many traditional managers struggle with. But we have to get it right.
“Work-from-Anywhere” is not cookie-cutter. Each organisation is different, their people are different and the tools that work for them are different.
This just cannot be established by policy … You need a Strategy!
“Work-from-Anywhere” Leadership Retreat
And that is why we have created the “Work-from-Anywhere” Leadership Retreat. It is a meeting designed and organised specifically to facilitate the ability of your organisations leaders to step back from their day-to-day demands and activities for a few hours of concentrated discussion, dialogue, and strategic thinking about the organisation’s “Work-from-Anywere” future.
The retreat is loosely organised around the following points:
- What do we want to achieve?
- How will that impact what work we do and how we do it?
- How will we measure productivity going forward?
- How will we motivate and engage our people?
- How will our culture need to change?
The outcome of this Leadership retreat is a framework of capabilities and enablers, personalised to your industry in general, and your organisation specifically, that enables the organisation’s leaders to create a set of change objectives for a powerful and lasting “Work-from-Anywhere” journey.
If you would like to know a bit more, watch this short, 20-min video:
If you would like to have a one-on-one strategy session with us, please click here to set a day and time for your breakthrough session.
Or, if you would like to organise a “Work-from-Anywhere” Leadership Retreat for your organisation, or just find out a bit more, please email us, or call us on +27836546480, or complete the form below and we will be in touch directly.