Is working from home on the rise?

Gone are the days of you sitting in your office for relentless 8-10 hours, working your butt off to add value to your firm and more importantly to make yourself available to your boss. An exemplary topic for board-room discussions crossed my mind only recently, when I noticed many employees at my office opting for work-from-home mode on a regular basis. “Work-from-home” is now a world-wide parlance, a brouhaha, which promises to revolutionize the entire system. Though, the recent Yahoo snub and tough economic conditions have lofted many organizations in quandary whether or not to adopt this new trend but gusts in its favor are sturdy due to availability of so many office management tools today.

Ask yourself: how many hours do I spend sitting in my office cubicle daily. Personally, I spend more than 75% of my office hours warming my swivel chair. I agree, it depends a lot on the type of job/field you work in but still many of us spend most of our office time just doing that. Now, imagine how wonderful it would be for you to do the same work sitting in more comfort hours of your home. Feeling better? I bet you are.

Having said that, we must recognize its other side too. I see following questions glued to this very idea:

1) Employees’ role and approach towards working from home?
2) What % increment in productivity does it offers to an employee?
3) How often/frequent a firm should allow its employees this benefit?
4) At which hierarchical level, employees should be allowed to avail this opportunity?
5) Should employee remuneration be scaled-up or scaled-down?
6) How to evaluate employees for promotion?
7) Will it strengthens company-employee relationship?
8) Any increment in retirement age?

Unfortunately, I don’t have fool-proof suggestions, at this moment, to the above raised questions. Answers are not straightforward as it makes or breaks a firm’s fortune, if used widely and frequently. Moreover, before jumping onto productive and counter-productive aspects, its a must for any firm to evaluate every perspective financially because it pledges to cut company ‘s costs efficiently more than just making life easier for employees.

Now, lets study some of the benefits it has to offer both to firms and employees-

Employee’s perspective:

1) Will reduce consumption of hundreds of barrels of fuel daily.
2) Better time utilization due to decrement in commute hours.
3) Office employees can unshackle themselves from putting  thousands of dollars on their office wardrobe.
4) May increase employees’ productivity as they now be less burdened/frustrated by office dilly-dally.
5) Allow working parents (esp. working mothers) to live dual lives with vastly improved work-life balance.
6) Efficient energy management system for physically challenged and old aged employees.
7) Prevents unnecessary traffic accidents.

Firm’s perspective:

1) Can operate their business literally 24×7 with flexible working hours.
2) Can cut down fixed and variable costs by huge margins (like office bills, building costs, employees’ pay, travel costs).
3) Open door for investments in many less glamoured avenues like social sector.
4) Sharp improvement in ROT (return on time) by reduction in wasted pitch-ins.
5) Helps firms to reduce attrition rate.

work_at_home

Apart from all the good-good aspects, the environment office hours provides both in terms of knowledge and networking is tremendous. Replacing office by home is a absolutely rubbish claim and should not be on the table of any organization ever. Right balance has to be achieved to gain greater heights

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“Rocket Science” behind Team Building [Part-3]

After, hiring and decentralization and coaching, one may argue that’s it. I hired, prepared teams and also coached my employees well for both good and worse times. I’m done with my part. I ask you! is he right to assume that his role is finished. Sadly, the answer is NO. There still one task left for him i.e. finding his successor; that is what we are gonna dig deep in this post.

Last brick in the wall: Finding your successor

I, recently read The curve of Talent, in which, Eric Paley, the writer, discusses about A, B, and C type of players in an organization; A being the most productive, basically the top dogs, B are good followers and C, the least productive. So, by common sense, finding a successor is a easy pick. One must put A on the hot seat! Isn’t it. Sadly, the answer again is straight NO. This step is similar to the hiring process [we discussed in the first part of this series], the only difference being that, it is a much broader and difficult task as here, we are looking for someone who could take the whole organization forward.

But, before jumping into the appreciable qualities of a successor, we must see why an organization needs a successor? Here are some of the reasons:

a) Age constraint: Though, with age every manager becomes more and more wise, the problem here is actually not his age but his energy management. Yes, you are reading me correctly. If you are at the top level of management, you have to deal with regular meetings, high-profile clients, fraud and sue cases, competition, so many freaking mails and not to mention your spouse and children. Thus, you have to be efficient in how you manage your energy. With time, of course, everyone face health issues. This calls for someone who is both young [relatively] and efficient to take everything and everyone forward.

b) New era of thinking: Different times, need different type of leaders. This fact perfectly explains the success gathered by the great American president Abraham Lincoln and British politician Winston Churchill. Sometimes, with experience one becomes more rigid and it becomes increasingly tough to bear new ideas. Even if that’s not the case, time and time again organization needs a new era, a new vigor, to shuffle up things around. Thus, the need of a new leader.

c) Not up to the mark/involvement in mal-practices: The former can be sorted out as even the most efficient people sometimes don’t perform to the level others expected of them due to a variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean the organization should scapegoat them. Instead, everyone should help them out. If surroundings are getting more and more foggy with time, even after dealing with all the issues, then its the right time to look for a new candidate. As far as, mal-practices or wrong doings are concern, there is no room for a another chance. His/her employment should be terminated effective immediately [obviously, after looking into every aspect of his/her fraud].

Now, lets look into the appreciable qualities of a successor as I pointed out earlier:

a) Should be a people’s person.
b) Tough but fair [though sounds more like a filmy dialogue, but its a must].
c) A person who not only has seen success but a lot of failure too.
d) Broad knowledge, a lot of experience, empathy, humility, and conceptually strong.
e) Firm believer of his/her own thoughts and actions.
f) High level of commitment for the organization.
g) A person with highly effective time and energy management [as discussed earlier].

I may be a little off with the facts in this series but that’s what I believe. This completes my 3 posts series on “Rocket Science” behind Team Building, I hope you’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. I will leave you now with an inspirational thought:

I don’t need a successor, only willing hands to accept the torch for a new generation. – Billy Graham