Do you ever find yourself alone in your office at 9 pm, struggling to finish that financial report in preparation for tomorrow’s 8 am board meeting? You wait for your UberEats order to arrive and track its progress on your phone, only to realise 20 mins later that your crispy chicken stir-fry will arrive soggy and mediocre at best...
When what you really crave is a home-cooked meal. The kind that takes hours to prepare like a succulently marinated chicken roasting away in the oven, with crispy baked potatoes and all the sides your heart desires….
If this sounds like you, a permanent “holiday” might be just the thing you need. So here’s what you need to know about flexible working so you can still be in the running for Boss of the Year.
The Changing Work Environment
If you’re a parent with a partner who is equally invested in building their career at the same time, you know how chaotic things can be on the homefront. It might even make you want a clone!
You start to miss the simple things, like taking your son to school in the morning, watching him play with his friends, having a table that isn’t cluttered with endless piles of paperwork and clothes, and that home-cooked meal that reminds you of... well, home.
It comes as no surprise that the work environment is changing from the traditional office set up to flexible working conditions. Yet many businesses are still hesitant to adopt flexible working.
Remote working as a boss has its benefits on the home/family front and it can also save your business some serious cash. This is particularly important if you’re situated in an entrepreneurial hub like Sydney as overhead costs such as rent can often cost an arm and a leg.
Working From Home Can Increase Productivity
If you’re worried about your team slacking off in favour for endless days at the beach and binge-watching episodes of Ellen, results from a study on remote working might surprise you.
A 2-year Stanford study conducted in China on 500 Ctrip (China’s largest travel agency) employees found that those who worked from home displayed a productivity boost equivalent to a full day’s work.
There were also fewer distractions at home, which meant that employees were able to execute more focused work. Plus, the massive (50%) reduction in attrition rates meant that Ctrip experienced less resource wastage.
If those results don’t convince you, Ctrip estimated a $2000 profit per employee that worked from home - imagine where you could reinvest that kind of money in your business for a second…
So if you want an accurate measurement on staff productivity, you must base your criteria on performance metrics, not presence. Anyone can show up to work and look busy - it’s what undervalued employees do! But if you want your teams to exhibit high-performance behaviours, make sure you enable exactly that.
Meet More, For Less
If you think working from home is only suited to small businesses that have fewer decision-makers, think again. There is no better time for companies to start embracing flexible working than now as we have access to tools to stay connected and share information with our teams.
Keep the pulse on your people by scheduling meaningful and efficient meetings throughout the day. Start by scheduling a 30-minute executive meeting and make sure your decision-makers are on board with the company strategy and are actively working towards achieving those goals each and every day.
From there, the executives/managers/team leaders should follow the 3 x 15 rule when meeting with their teams.
3 team meetings, capped at 15 minutes each.
The morning meeting will set the agenda and objectives for the day, based on insights from the executive meeting. The pre or post-lunch meeting can explore the tactical tasks - what’s working/not working, what are the challenges, how can we do better? Finally, the last meeting of the day should be a recap of the day’s activities. This meeting will also provide staff with the opportunity to voice any questions or concerns going into the next day.
Short, sweet and strategic - that’s how all meetings should be. Of course, you don’t have to do all 3 meetings; but one at the start of the day would push everyone in the right direction, ensuring the meeting is focused on transformational activity rather transactional. (Want more tips on productivity? Here’s our top 5)
Woo Your Staff
Of course, remote working will still require you to invest in building a good company culture to combat the (often) lonely working conditions.
Flexible workspaces offer businesses the opportunity to organise a centralised meeting area at a fraction of the cost of leasing office space. This means that you can get your staff together on certain days of the week to organise company meetings and encourage face to face collaboration, which also feeds into team bonding. Team bonding is a must. Your workmates should feel like a second family and if effective management practices aren’t in place, you can easily start to dislike the people around you. And then the gossip starts...
A forward-thinking business leader understands that part of the profits should be reinvested into the staff, so organise a social gathering with the money saved or take your team out to a nice lunch (drinks included!). You’ll be rewarded with the care and dedication they give to building your business and it will make it mighty hard for the competition to swoop them up!
Now to deliver on that promise, you could actually work from anywhere as long as the face-to-face time spent with your team is meaningful and collaborative to build back the human connection required to achieve great things. Good luck! Let us know how you go.