Peter Thompson, the co-author of the book, Future Work, How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work, argues that while technology is taking us into a new world with facts and details just a touch away at our keyboard, many companies are still structured for the industrial age of work.
People are expected to gather at a central location for a set number of hours, and managers are expected to closely supervise these workers. Having a flexible schedule, or working from home, is often perceived by many of these companies as an exception and a privilege, not the norm.
Companies, many of which have created shared desks for coworkers of separate shifts, are open to hiring both work-at-home employees and employees that have flexible shifts. Part of the reason for this is that there are many good employees who don’t see why they should give up their lifestyle of raising kids, scheduling dentist appointments, or sleeping in to have a job that does not require their constant or immediate presence. So full-time work at home, with mere core hours, will often be seen as a norm by these companies.
The number of remote workers continues to grow at a rapid pace. How do business owners feel about this new trend? A good article to read is found at Businessingmag.com entitled, “Are Remote Employees Really Better for Your Business?” that will shed more light on this subject.
Another thing we are seeing in the business world is the invention of “virtual offices.” If a company wants to get a toehold for expansion in business in a new market, such as Los Angeles or Las Vegas, they can now do so. Instead of spending six months finding a site, hiring a new batch of employees, and setting up innumerable phone and internet connections, they simply send an executive, an administrator, and a sales manager to the new area, open in days, rather than months, and the business is already expanded. They have everything they need, and they are ready to do business.
An example of this is ViewPointe Executive Suites, which has office space for rent that Las Vegas business owners trust. At ViewPointe, a business owner can open up an executive office with an already existent phone number and can set up a virtual office within 24 hours. They are also expandable as your needs grow. Contact viewpointecenter.com for more information.
Still another way that the workforce is changing is through education. The industrial age saw a single teacher leading a class of thirty students through their lessons. Today, the classroom teacher may be seen as more of a facilitator. According to Wikipedia, The Teach to One approach, being done in nine New York City schools, teaches students in mathematics by using a group of off-site math teachers. These teachers teach the students via a computer in both individual and small group lessons. The idea is that the teacher facilitates the lessons in class, and the result is that students who need remedial lessons in math get it, while students who are more advanced in math skills are not held back. In the future of business, the manager is seen as a facilitator that guides newer employees through tasks they are unfamiliar with, without hindering the developments made by more experienced employees.
One factor holding many companies back is finding a management style that works with the new, flexible environment. Many companies now use the Scrum approach. Under the Scrum approach, which was initially developed to produce software quickly, a product owner creates the parameters for the software he wants to be developed, then a team of engineers creates several sprints to create a viable software. Then, the team presents the sprint to the product owner.
Similarly, management is shifting to this teamwork approach, where the manager serves more as the vision maker, and trusts the team to get things done. The effect is a somewhat softening and blurring of the lines between management and team members, making things a more collaborative effort. As companies shift to this type of role, upper management is also challenged to see similar compensation levels and bonuses shift toward team members as well as product owners.