[Insight] Let’s give staff unlimited leave (and other crazy ideas)…
By Tarryn Pitchers, Marketing Manager at Joe Public United
4 March 16: We live in a fast-paced world and part of that chaotic pace is the advent of technology. But most interestingly, technology has also undeniably started to change the emphasis on typical office hours and hard-core business culture.
A bunch of busy bustards*
We still live in a world where we traditionally judge people based on their face, time and workload in the office instead of their results. There is a constant focus on making sure that there are certain amounts of hours clocked and emails sent during office hours instead of focusing on achieving relevant goals.
So people land up doing more to seemingly be more in order to get more. But of course, all the energy and effort are of no value if it does not deliver real results.
It’s all bollocks anyway
What we need to do is take a microscope and start to seriously evaluate the value of output versus input in today’s business world. If your output does not match the business’s needs and doesn’t effectively deliver on meaningful goals, all you are is a hamster on a wheel, not contributing to the business going anywhere fast.
The world is changing, so are the new generations in it and so should working environments, recruitment methods and business culture. The undertone of any business with a “work hard” culture, whether explicitly or implicitly implied, actually means that working an insurmountable amount of hours, generally means you’re less productive. Either you’re taking too long to get the job done or you have too much work and are spread too thin, which then begs the question about the effective use of resources. In any case, being less productive means you cannot deliver on excellence. You are a disintegrated form of self and you are not the best and most inspired version of yourself.
The path to greatness
Is about being balanced and letting one’s staff draw their own boundaries. An effective workday should allow one more space to come up with quality and valuable thinking as well as letting people be more efficient. Businesses need to loosen up.
Here are a few ideas:
- Allow staff to chose their own working hours.
- Let staff work remotely. Bam! You can reduce your commercial costs by limiting desk and floor space to encourage off-site working.
- Here’s a novel one: Unlimited leave (let staff dictate how much leave they believe they need). Ludicrous? Not when output matters most! If your staff can be more effective and deliver on quality, does it matter if you haven’t seen them at the office for 8 hours?
Businesses that understand the rapidly changing environment, the impact of technology and the need to retain great talent will breed a different working culture focused on output rather than input, which may, in turn, be key to surviving as a business, especially if you want great talent.
I’m in a fortunate position where I have about 40% face-time with my employers a year. I am fortunate enough to work from Cape Town for an ad agency based in Johannesburg. So despite this, my output and performance have never wavered. Technology makes this more than possible as well as working with a business that is opening to thinking differently. I am acutely aware of my delivery because I am getting paid for the quality of my work and not for the number of hours I work.
The industrial working age no longer fits the mould of today’s convenient environment – how can it? Too much has changed. Yet we still insist on using old archaic rules and structures. People can work more effectively and smarter when allowed more freedom. Businesses and their leaders need to recognise the output of their peers rather than be a stickler for the clock, the rules and “hard work”, they need to learn to get the best out of their people in order to achieve greatness.
* The great Bustard is possibly the heaviest living flying animal and are often attracted to areas with considerable insect activity. The maximum known life span for the species is 28 years. A rather gregarious bird.