On an average workday, at least 10 per cent of RedPoint’s people aren’t in the office. But they’re still hard at work. One of my co-workers compares her out-of-the-office, always-on-call working life to a three-legged stool. It depends, she says, on three pillars: The right employer, the right technology and the right sense of accountability.
By now, “telecommuting” is old school. In 2013, a company that offers a flexible work environment has to rethink the entire concept of workspaces, roles and business hours. Does it make sense for an office manager and a sales rep to work at similar desks during identical hours? What resources are must-haves for an art director vs. a traffic coordinator?
Increasingly, open-minded employers are turning away from one-size-fits-all solutions, recognizing that while the desk-based, 9-to-5 workday suits some, for others it’s never been an ideal fit. In fact, relaxing the traditional hawk-like vigil over staffers’ hours can give employers greater agility, as workdays stretch and segment themselves to fit the work instead of the routine. Freed from a clock-punching mentality, employers can retain top talent and get teams working to their fullest potential.
For many professionals, bulky CPU towers (along with many other trappings of conventional workspaces) are obsolete. We have tablets, smartphones, near-ubiquitous Internet access and more real-time communication options than ever before. Of all industries, the media and communication sector is particularly well positioned to transition to a more-connected, less-constrained workforce.
With great independence comes great responsibility. The onus is on remote workers to deliver solid productivity that meets or exceeds expectations, in whatever form that takes. So while off-site staffers can avoid rush-hour commutes and communal kitchen etiquette, they can’t sidestep accountability. A mutually agreeable process is essential, as are a system of goal-setting and measuring, and a regular reporting schedule.
While blurring the borders between work life and home life doesn’t work for everyone, some will find themselves more productive, creative and motivated than ever. We often hear about the downside of the connected lifestyle, but with luck it will lead to a future where workers are empowered to meet their goals in times and spaces that make sense for them. And their employers will see better returns than ever.