Trends in the way we work

It's helpful to know what are the global trends in the way people work. If you're a leader, or if you're only responsible for yourself, you know what to expect and how to prepare.

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OCTAVIAN PANTIS

OCTAVIAN PANTIS

GENERAL MANAGER at TMI TRAINING & CONSULTING SRL

Please find below 4 of the directions that can be felt already and that are likely to shape the lives of people and organizations in the years to come.

 

1. Flexible work hours

 

The early stages are here already. More and more companies are allowing people to arrive at work between 7 and 10 and leave 8 hours later, for instance. But this is just the beginning. People are going to ask for larger lunch breaks, for the possibility of working from outside the office, for days off compensated by 2-3 hours extra in the other days and so on.

 

If you’re a leader, don’t oppose it. Yes, there may be corporate procedures and habits and paradigms that support the traditional way of working. But if you just defend these things without giving people a chance to try out the changes they suggest, you might find yourself losing the loyalty and energy of the people and, possibly, even the people themselves. And, as you’ve probably seen along the years, the first ones to leave are not the ones you’d like to get rid of but the ones you’d like to keep.

 

Give people the chance to have what they ask for. A simple way to do this without jeopardizing your business is to make people responsible for results, not for tasks. You won’t be next to them to see what they’re doing but they should report the results you expect. Monitor their results closely and see what happens. If it works out, it’s a win-win – you get the results, they get the schedule that fits them. If it doesn’t work out, you return to business as usual and you have an extra leverage on your people: you’re not the one who did not allow them to try something new, you’re the one who trusted them and whom they have failed.

 

If you’re thinking about yourself, think about the schedule that would really suit you. Avoid asking for a different schedule just because someone else is asking for it. Think about the life style you want, about the chores you have to do, about the things you’d like to spend more time on. Think twice. And when you’re sure this new schedule would not compromise your work performance, go and ask for it. Insist, but not too much.

 

If they give it to you, make sure you over deliver. You’ll be closely watched. Respect your commitments. Enjoy your other activities. If you see it doesn’t work, don’t wait until the boss tells you it doesn’t work. Take the initiative to change back. If it works, don’t brag about it to your colleagues, as you might not do them any good. Just enjoy it and make the best out of every day.

 

If they don’t give it to you, even though it’s important to you, still do your best, but be ready to leave.

 

2.  Fewer years with the same employer

 

This is one of the most obvious ones, illustrated by numerous studies and witnessed by most of us when we think about how our parents' generation was working. Almost literally, their work life has been lived with the same employer. Now, the average number of years with an employer in the US, according to Fast Company, is 4.4 and the number is going down.

 

If you’re a leader, do your best to keep the great people. Don’t take their loyalty for granted. Don’t assume that they’re here to stay for a decade. Think of them as your most valuable customers, who can always get another offer. Identify what they want and give it to them. If it’s a title, be generous. If it’s a different kind of work, be creative. If it’s recognition or learning opportunities, be prompt. If it’s more money, be… well, it’s never only about the money. When they say they want more money, usually what they mean is that they want more money and also something else, just as important, if not more important. Find out what that is.

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