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MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS

FLEXIBLE Working Relies On Trust And An ‘Outcomes’ Focus

I was reading an article last month about a creative agency, Potato that has ditched the traditional nine to five model. There are no fixed working hours and staff are allowed to turn up and leave work whatever time they like – as long as the work gets done. In this article, the Chief Executive of the business, Jason Cartwright, commented: “We work on the basis that creative, complex work just doesn’t fit nicely into the nine to five mould, and the same is true for the 40-hour work week. Instead, we give our teams the responsibility of managing their time, believing that they are the best judges of the time that needs to be put in to achieve the best result on a project. By opening up the working day, we can cater to people’s workplace idiosyncrasies to let them do what feels right rather than what a company policy says is right.” As a result, Potato says that it has significantly improved staff retention and importantly its turnover. This got me thinking about how much the workplace and organisations have changed in the last few years, largely as a result of the mobile revolution. Now employees can work just about anywhere and the traditional structures and ways of working are debatable. At the same time, I also wonder how conducive it really is to have us all working from home or ‘on the go’ as we travel from one client meeting to another. How much is gained versus what is lost in the process? 106

Issue 3

We are often told that organisations need to be increasingly agile especially in what is described as the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment in which we operate today. One of the ways in which many companies have responded is by introducing flexible working. This can have many dimensions, perhaps not as extreme as the Potato example, but that include contract flexibility (i.e. annual hours or specific time only contracts), time flexibility (i.e. no or limited core hours with staff able to flex their time during a day or week), and location flexibility (i.e. the ability to work in a range of locations both within the organisation’s buildings and beyond). Technology also plays a big part. The mobile revolution, smartphones and devices have enabled this ‘anywhere, anytime’ working pattern. And facilities like video conferencing, teleconferencing and telepresence are more commonplace now. That said when considering flexible working all organisations need to think through the approach and both the upsides and downsides and ensure that the practices and contracts you put in place will work. I recently heard of another organisation that implemented a working from home policy. In all their contracts employees were based from home and staff were paid expenses to either travel into the offices around the country or to customer sites and so on. Unfortunately, the company then put a ban on travel and employees were unable to leave home unless they paid for the travel themselves, which is a ridiculous scenario.

Andrew Moore COO DAV Management

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Global Banking & Finance Review - Business and Financial Magazine  

Global Banking & Finance Review is a leading financial portal and Print Magazine offering News, Analysis, Opinion, Reviews, Interviews & Vid...