My way or the highway: why this is no longer a responsible business choice
by Jemma Chambers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Time Use Survey, the number of Americans who worked partially or fully from home dropped from 24% in 2015 to 22% last year. IBM, who have seen falling revenues for the past 20 quarters, decided to follow in the footsteps of Yahoo, Best Buy and Bank of America, by dictating that a percentage of, not all workers, work from the office. The message? Work from an office or your talent isn’t welcome here
– they believe work has become more team based and a higher level of proximity is required.
And I agree! Yes, the woman whose head office is in Southampton, but lives in the Midlands, agrees! Work has become more team based, and we do need to be close to our employees. But do we really need to be in the office to do this (or get the heave-ho)!?
Forgive me for a moment, whilst I check my calendar to make sure we aren’t back in the 90’s and I need to dig our my shell suit.
Technology, my friend, is the answer. Well, that and a car/ability to catch a train. Video. IM&P. WebEx. Spark Rooms. All available, all work, and they work well. And to get together face to face, to maintain the contact? That’s where the planes, trains and automobiles come in.
I’m constantly staggered at the lack of technology adoption in technology companies! This has led them to demand of their talent, ‘dance to my tune, move house, extend your commute and spend less time with your family to come into work to satisfy people who don’t even make your Christmas card list’. So said talent leaves. And who can blame them, when a study from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, developed by VitalityHealth shows that “Allowing employees the flexibility to avoid the rush-hour commute where possible, or fit their routine around other commitments, can help reduce stress and promote healthier lifestyle choices and, importantly, this is shown to impact positively on productivity.” And let’s not get into what happens if there is a leaf on a train line!
I’m shocked that these well-known companies think ‘move it or lose it’ is the way forward. I live in Nottingham, our head office is Southampton. By IBM and Yahoo’s thinking, I should be moving to the south coast to be successful, or I should take my talent to our Midland-based competitors. I’m sure my boss will be pleased!
I’m thrilled that I work for a forward thinking company who uses the tools available, the tools that we sell and advocate on a daily basis, to allow me to do my job well, connect with my team, make dinner for my children (that they don’t eat. Another post for another site), attend their nativity play at lunchtime and live in the same City as my parents so we can be a family. I can speak to my team whilst waiting in for the boiler man. I can have a weekly meeting with my peers and judge the content of my presentation from the Midlands through their reactions on the south coast (the joys of ad-hoc video). I can hop on a train to meet with a partner, get in the car for my monthly team meeting and fly to Southampton for a 1:1. I can manage my time so that, when I’m home late after a couple of days in the office, I can plan to do the school run the next couple of days and be with my children when it matters.
And so can the rest of sipsynergy. So why can’t everyone else? Perhaps they should come and speak to us.
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