Working ‘Agile’

When considering agile work, we imagine open spaces filled with teamwork and the spontaneous joining and dispersing of productive groups. Individuals are free to dictate the hours or effort they put into achieving their objectives rather than working in a fixed physical location or within a structured time frame. This sort of work, which is possible to do on your laptop from home, a café or on the road sounds very appealing when the long dreary hours of an office day become too monotonous. Consequently, there are any number of office workers who would jump at the opportunity to become an ‘agile employee’.

The benefits of this are plenty – it could be to have a closer proximity to one’s family, to be more productive in a space filled with ‘close-strangers’ or to attend to those tasks that are seemingly impossible to achieve on weekends or after work hours, like renewing a driver’s license. Some articles have noted that working remotely boosts staff morale, improves well-being and provides the opportunity to do things that further impact happiness – like exercising.

When Lines Become Blurred

However, a problem arises when the line between impossible and convenient becomes blurred. Like when a trip to a shopping mall at midday on a Tuesday becomes the norm, or when grabbing a sandwich between meetings turns into a 2-hour lunch break. When we give ourselves these allowances we begin to steal time (and money) from the organisation. This is why being agile requires a very structured mindset. Yes, you read that correctly! It is not the spontaneous, or the ‘agile’ who are most productive when working remotely, but those individuals who are able to place strict parameters on themselves for their actions, their time and their whereabouts. Working remotely, realistically, and in a service orientated business, means that you have the opportunity to do the truly “impossible” but then quickly return to performing your duties. The mindset that is needed is one of maturity, accountability and complete transparency, even when it is not required. It means that every request be treated as urgent and every deadline met and even exceeded, even if this means working outside of the office hours (without overtime of course). When office workers are provided with the opportunity to work from home, it should be understood that Senior Management has a high level of trust in that employee and believes that they not only deserve the flexibility of being agile, but are also capable of handling the responsibility. This, together with the fact that any errands can be completed on company hours (without recourse), is reason enough for those employees to take on more work, work longer hours and improve their standards and quality.

Unfortunately, this mindset is not shared by all.

Linked Psychometric Assessment (LPA)

Should your organization buy into the many benefits of allowing employees to work remotely, it would be useful to have a screening process to understand which employees are better suited to work in this manner. Bioss SA offers clients a number of tools like the Linked Psychometric Assessment (LPA), which will assist in measuring important characteristics such as self-motivation, discipline, responsibility and accountability – all considered important for successful remote working!

Custom Management Themes linked to Remote Working using the LPA

Conclusion

Being agile is a perk and it allows one the flexibility of making work fit into your lifestyle. Yet it is a perk that cannot be handed out to every employee, as if it’s used irresponsibly it could have an enormous impact on the overall wellbeing of the organisation.

For more information on remote working, how to ensure your employees are suited to this way of working, managing a remote work team or to complete a free LPA demo please email info@bioss.com

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