The traditional clock-punching 9-5 workday has been on the decline for years. As a result of the ubiquitous nature of enterprise mobility, the line between our personal and professional lives has blurred. Today, many people begin work long before they arrive at the office and sign off long after they’ve physically left the premises.
While this has become the new normal for many organizations, the way we work is set to change again.
The autonomy associated with the gig economy is officially impacting the corporate world, with professionals increasingly expecting less oversight and more freedom to get the job done — on their terms. This combined with the fact that business intelligence and analytics tools are making company-wide data more accessible and easier to use is re-defining how and where people get work done.
In fact, fifty-two percent of employees in a recent Gallup survey say they can exercise some choice over when they work, and 43 percent work away from their team at least some of the time. According to the report, “Employees today are attracted to interesting problems and meaningful work — not just a job title.”
In this environment, it’s essential that managers lessen their grip on the reigns and empower their teams to make decisions on their own. A key part of this is engendering trust on both sides.
As authors Kelly Palmer and David Blake state in their book The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed, “Autonomy and flexibility only work if managers frequently connect with their employees to discuss tasks, set goals, set expectations, and provide feedback.” It’s evident that communication plays an essential role, particularly for companies with a remote demographic.
Software startup InVision is an excellent example of this workforce evolution, as it has no physical office space despite its 700 employees. With people working from England, Israel, Australia, Argentina, Nigeria and other countries, InVision’s focus is on performance and output rather than hours logged. Speaking with Business Insider recently, InVision’s chief people officer, Mark Frein, said, “It’s about results, not where your IP address is. We care about what you’re able to do or achieve. If you’re able to achieve something great while working wonky hours, then that’s great.”
While he was speaking specifically about InVision, Frein’s words are applicable to all organizations that want to empower their employees in the increasingly autonomous workforce. A widespread business intelligence strategy that equips knowledge workers and other non-technical groups with real-time data access is often all it takes for employees to be more effective and achieve their own something great — whatever it might be.