Tell your employees not to come into work tomorrow, and you might become more popular than you think. Today's emerging workforce is looking for opportunities to work from home and hold meetings in coffee shops. They want a change of scenery once in a while, and allowing it will not only move you up the hip scale, it may mean an increase in productivity.
Rebecca Ryan, CEO of Next Generation Consulting and author of Live First, Work Second feels that the youngest generation in the workforce today can prove a commitment to their job by showing results from outside the office. It means they can follow great ideas into the early morning hours, be inspired by personal surroundings, and demonstrate self-motivation. Ultimately, working towards the success of the company will become second nature.
The Y-Generation puts more emphasis than ever before on place and quality of life, as opposed to simply finding a job anywhere they can. Managers and CEOs will do themselves a great disservice by ignoring these trends and the quality employees that embrace them.
So how can someone be working if they're not at work? It's a tough concept to embrace, particularly because it breaks all the rules we've followed since the beginning of industry and corporations. But today's workforce is much more reliant on creativity and inspiration, which don't necessarily resonate from cubicles and conference rooms.
Think about some of your most productive brainstorming sessions – they probably didn't come while staring at your work computer screen or standard-issue desk calendar. Perhaps your best idea stared at you from your dinner plate at a local restaurant or woke you up in the middle of the night. Southwest Airlines, for example, is rumored to have written their original business plan on the back of a cocktail napkin. MarketingExperiments.com put so much stock in this technique that in 2006, they held a business plan competition that required contestants to sum up the heart of their plans and submit them on the back of a napkin. The winner received a business jump-start package worth over $100,000.
I'm not suggesting you give an employee a roll of paper towels and tell her to get lost. Rather, I'm setting the stage for a conversation with that same employee about telecommuting on Fridays, or with a prospective job candidate who asks how flexible he can be with his 40 hours per week. If you plan to rely on your staff for fresh ideas and creative solutions, the things that are invaluable in today's suffering economy, it's best to understand where they need to be in order to shine.
Here are some guidelines for transitioning to a more mobile workforce:
1.Collect cell and home phone numbers and alternate email addresses for each employee
2.Communicate your expectations about office hours, reachability, or other requirements
3.Set short- and long-term deadlines for assignments and revoke out-of-office privileges if they are late.
4.Conduct frequent check-ins by phone or email to maintain status-quo.
5.Assess your strategies and respond accordingly.
Leniency and flexibility at work means happier employees, which translates into efficiency, productivity, and profitability. It's only getting harder to attract quality employees, and the younger generation values quality of life as much as the quality of their job. And who knows – you might even save a few bucks by turning off some lights at work once in a while.