With the ever-changing technology in the market and the easy access to laptops, tablets and smartphones the face of the traditional workforce has changed dramatically in the last few years.
With traffic and parking becoming an ever increasing problem in most cities, the expectation to commute to the office and back home again only to repeat the journey again the next day and then the idea of sitting at your desk day in and day out is not only unappealing to many in the workforce but also becoming a thing of the past for many progressive organisations.
If like me, you work in a services based organisation you are often dealing with CEO’s, Directors and Managers who themselves work part time or remotely and are working from their home office whilst juggling kids and other business interests. With the wide availability of wireless and internet enabled products, you are able to conduct client meetings, present pitches and proposals and take phone calls in any location, basically your office can be where you want it to be.
Whilst this is giving organisations and staff unlimited flexibility – a recent Mobile Workforce Report conducted by iPass Inc., found that 60 percent of “mobile employees” are reported to work 50 plus hours per week also including weekend days (which is the most popular time to work remotely). This report also demonstrates the resourcefulness of these employees in doing whatever it takes to get connected and get the job done often working late into the night. The downside is longer hours can potentially lead to a different kind of stress.
Does giving staff flexibility and mobility work? At Eden Ritchie we have put this to the test several times in the last few years with excellent results. We have a core group of staff who work from home providing services to our client base with minimal fuss, this is mixed with a couple of days in the office to work with the rest of the team and keep a handle on what is going on in the rest of the business. This way of thinking and the changes to our traditional business model have given us access to a broader range of skills and potential staff when we are in the market recruiting. As this has proven so successful for us, we are often advising organisations to think about this approach in their own business – but as most things that are regarded as “radical” or “out of the box” it is viewed with skepticism and negativity – with the same old comments “that wouldn’t work in our business”.
With the ongoing battle to attract and retain A1 staff to organsiations, we often hear from employers that they offer flexibility and work/life balance – but do they offer what the employees really want? It is time for the broader business community to WALK THE WALK not just TALK THE TALK when it comes to developing a mobile workforce.