In the post-pandemic world that we live in today, the way in which we work is undoubtedly a topical conversation amongst business leaders.
Whilst some businesses have thrived off new technologies, others are struggling to compete with an increasing ‘remote’ workforce. Is it time to embrace a new working pattern, so-called ‘workstyle’?
What is ‘workstyle’?
Workstyle gives individuals the freedom to choose when and where they work rather than mandating flexible, hybrid, remote, part-time or office-based approaches. It’s an individualized system of work, aka it is designed by the individual.
This model allows for complete autonomy. It does not mean squeezing a five day week into four days. It does not mean ‘flexible’ working around an inflexible system.
So, what are the benefits of embracing workstyle for employers and employees alike?
Discover untapped talent
Workstyle means you level the playing field to all, which in turn opens the door to a huge amount of untapped talent for your business. You help close the gap between those wanting to work, and those that are discriminated against by the rigid nine to five system. The statistics say it all:
- Living with a disability – 82% of people without disabilities work, but only 53% of those living with disabilities do; a 29% gap.
- Mental health – 43% of people with mental health problems are in employment compared to 74% of the general population; a 31 % gap.
- Caring – 61% of carers don’t do paid work but 50 % of those would like a job; a 31% gap.
- Neurodiversity – 77 % of people with autism want to work, but only 26 % do; a 51 % gap.
- Illness – 50 % of people with long-term health conditions say health is a barrier to the work they can do; a 50 % gap.
- Ageing – only 39% of retiring workers do so voluntarily, the majority would prefer to continue working in some capacity; a 61% gap. On top of this, staggering one million women have been forced out the labor market due to menopausal symptoms.
- Parenting – 86% of working parents want to work flexibly but only 49% do; a 37% gap.
A nine-to-five working day is a 200-year-old concept intended to support industrial age forms of work. It doesn’t cater for people living outside of cities, older workers, those living with a disability or the neurodiverse for example.
Workstyle is the key to genuine inclusion and creates a meritocratic workplace where output is rewarded, rather than presence. It’s inclusive, fulfilling and fair, and one day we believe all businesses will work this way.
Increase productivity, wellbeing amongst your employees
Research has found that those with more autonomy take greater pride in and are more emotionally attached to their work.
Work–life balance, job satisfaction, engagement and productivity are all improved, while stress, staff turnover and exhaustion are decreased.
Efficiency has also been found to increase as people are able to choose their optimal working conditions, save time and energy by reducing commuting time and are forced to communicate more effectively.
How to implement workstyle in your business
Traditionally, businesses have relied on their workforce being in a shared place during regulated hours, and this need for conformity, coupled with inherent lack of trust for the individual, is a model that simply is not fit for the future.
We want to throw out the world of rigid meetings, pointless commutes or people missing out on life’s key moments, and instead re-imagine a business bursting with wellness, energy and great ideas.
It’s time to embrace workstyle, and take steps to explore asynchronous communication, employee empowerment and digital transformation solutions which, we know, will ultimately help us all to build a better world.
Here are three tips for how to break out of a one-size-fits-all work model:
- Embrace the technology that allows for asynchronous work: platforms like Google Drive and Slack make collaboration more accessible and inclusive. A Slack survey that interviewed over 10,000 knowledge workers per quarter showed that in the US, Hispanic/Latin and Asian/Asian American employees reported a higher sense of belonging during the pandemic, because new working structures help cut-down the code-switching and microaggressions that are more prevalent in the office. And in terms of productivity, Slack claims to reduce emails by 32% and meetings by 27%.
- Embody a trust-based culture: asynchronous work can only be achieved by trusting one another, being accountable for one’s own work and assuming others can, and will deliver. It categorically needs to be based on trust (rather than presence). Switch individual appraisals to focus on output/deliverables rather than input.
- Futureproof by adopting a digital-first approach: assume all work and collaborations happen digitally rather than physically (no office meetings for example), allowing people the freedom to choose where they work. Video-software such as Thread-it is useful for a play-back visual communication allowing the individual to watch and digest in their own chosen time (and often avoiding the all-so-often timely in-person meetings which can involve lengthy commutes and even catering costs).
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