June 21, 2024

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Merit-based flexibility could be the future of work as return-to-office mandates fail to prop up productivity

2 min read

In the evolving landscape of flexible work, leaders face a monumental challenge: ensuring performance without constant oversight. It’s time to upend this conventional narrative–and unlock a paradigm where flexibility fuels productivity, not fear.

Extensive research shows that flexibility isn’t a luxury–it’s a productivity powerhouse. Nick Bloom’s meta-analysis offers an enlightening perspective: A flexible hybrid work model can outperform the traditional in-person setup by 1% to 3%.

The magic lies in strategic scheduling–reserving office time for collaborative tasks while empowering employees to tackle independent work in their personal havens. This model doesn’t just trim down commute times but also optimizes the workday, allowing for deep concentration when needed and collaboration when it’s most fruitful. It mirrors a principle I often share with clients: maximize your team’s potential by aligning their work environment with their tasks. The key is having employees commute to the office only for the activities that can be most productively completed there, such as intense synchronous collaboration, nuanced conversations, socializing, team bonding, and on-the-job training and mentoring. You can do these activities remotely, but it takes more time and effort, which lowers productivity.

Additionally, hybrid work is the equivalent of an 8% salary increase in terms of employee satisfaction, as Bloom’s findings suggest. An Oxford-Saïd Business School and BT study takes this further, quantifying happiness and its impact on productivity among content workers: a 13% increase in performance.

The dichotomy of remote work

By contrast to a flexible model, fully remote work results in more mixed outcomes. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed a concerning trend for certain white-collar roles that require less education and fall on the lower end of the pay scale, such as those in call centers. Evaluating the…

Gleb Tsipursky

2023-11-08 09:53:28

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