Do organisations understand the meaning of flexible working?

By James Harris, guest writer at ProFinda.

Like many of you I spend my time searching for leads and opportunities via LinkedIn, and whilst I come across quite a bit of relevant content I am surprised by some posts (no, I am not referring to outrageous videos of US election candidates!).

For example, Cisco, a tech giant, posted about Flexible and Smarter Working. I was expecting to watch a video about how organisations are moving towards project based environments, and how employees are engaged by the opportunity to be involved in tasks which appeal to their abilities and aspirations.

I was wrong.

Instead, I wasted 76 seconds of my life being “amazed” by the power of ‘Webex’ and the opportunity to work remotely.

I am not arguing the benefits of remote working and an increased work life balance, but I feel confident in saying these are not new concepts! Large, influential organisations such as Cisco should be setting an example of truly flexible/ smarter working concepts. Sullying the grey expectations of large corporate companies where you are bound by titles and departments, we need to become more like ‘Google’, where you are hired for your potential and your knowledge.

A famous example of a large corporate organisation creating a more flexible, smarter working environment would be Jack Welch during his time at GE. He advocated a “boundary-less organisation” and created the GE Work-out-process. This was a series of forums within GE enabling people to solve problems together regardless of level, function or location — breaking down silos to improve the exchange of knowledge within an organisation. This was 25 years ago and although I agree there is still value in forums, I believe that organisations now need to move past this. Companies need to be more transparent allowing their employees to collaborate more with each other on a project-by-project or question-by-question basis outside of forums.

We need to understand how we can improve productivity and utilisation through a better use of knowledge and skills — a subject I feel should be at the forefront of every company’s road-map for next year, not how their employee can log in from their dining room.

About the author

James Harris is a guest writer at ProFinda - connect with him on LinkedIn.

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