You can work from anywhere, the trick is getting the boss to let you!
Earlier today, I was in the office pounding away on the keyboard, knocking some good ole work out. Not really but it felt like I was really accomplishing things. I bolted out of the office early to grab my youngest son and take him to lacrosse practice. As I sit here in the cooler part of the day, on a trim green lawn, watching and listening to parents talk about how busy they are at the office and what degree they need to get a promotion. I can’t help but be thankful for the life style we are about to move into. Working from wherever, whenever. Why does the corporate world think that offices are a necessity?
The thought that you have to be in the office to accomplish tasks is as outdated as the payphone that most of the managers grew up thinking was awesome new technology. If you want to keep great employees and make sure, they are happy you have to loosen up and give them the trust they deserve and need to function at peak levels. Let your employees work when and where they want as long as they accomplish their tasks. Experiment with a group of those who are interested in working remotely three days a week to begin with. Don’t watch their every move. Your test should be “graded” on not only the amount of work they complete but the quality. When your employees know that they are trusted and that they have some freedom watch their creativity soar and their quality and yes even their quantity increase.
I know there are many arguments about how being in the office is the only way that some can be productive. Or the thought that you get more done in the office where the manager is watching the employees every move, or even worse coworkers that feel that they are better than the remote counterpart because they are in the office from 8-5. All of these myths can be debunked with great leadership tactics. The new generations don’t and won’t work an 8-5 “job”. They want a place where they can take off and go to an appointment in the middle of the day. The thing is that most of them work later in the evening again to finish their day.
Let’s talk a little bit about the different generations from my point of view, if you don’t agree that’s ok. That is one of the best things about living where we live, we can agree to disagree.
Baby-boomers want to work from 8-5 every day with a 1-hour lunch. That time had better be spent in the office or at the shop. If your salary you need to spend a minimum of 50 hours a week working. If you’re the boss you need to be there before any employees and stay later then all of the employees to ensure that you are leading by example. Remember that the 8-track was the “bees’ knees” to most of this generation when they graduated high school.
Gen x’ers are similar to the baby-boomers they feel that their employees should be at the office from 8-5 as well, but they are a little more lenient you can leave early the Friday before a holiday. They are trying to be more open but have a hard time with it because they had to endure the baby-boomers mentality of work. Gen x’ers are the ones who first got the phone in a bag as an awesome way to stay in touch. Remember they would hook it up to their car and when the phone would ring the horn would honk! Stylish.
Millennials get a bad rep all the way around. They are accused of being offended constantly. If they don’t get what they want they throw a fit. While that is true with some of them, there are many others who are the top producers’ in the world. Some of the biggest and most successful companies have been created and operated by this generation. Millennials don’t like being confined to hours that they must work, and they definitely don’t like working in an office. They like to get up, work a few hours from the house, head to work (only when they have to go to office) then take a nice lunch. Get some more work done, then go work out, grab a quick bite to eat, and finish the night by working a little more. No office required.
There are positives and negatives for each generation.
I’m here to tell you that if you want to keep happy younger employees the office mentality needs to disappear. With new generations and technology, that we have today there is no reason to time track or micro manager your salary employees. There is no need to even have an office space for most of those individuals. Really all that you need is a place to have meetings. Guess what there are tons of places to have informal meetings and presentations in every town. Even in rural America, I’ll bet you can find a library, a school, or a Grange hall that will be plenty big enough to house your meeting. Be creative.
Remember your test should be “graded” on not only the amount of work they complete but the quality, not by the physical hours they spend behind a desk.
Let’s break out of the office and get some real work done.