A Remote Workforce – Changing the Management Process

It’s no surprise that today’s business office looks very different. The proverbial water cooler is now your phone, the conference room is your bedroom, living room, bathroom or whatever room you can have a quiet conversation in. Break time is ubiquitous and chances are you are no longer worrying about someone taking your lunch from the fridge in the break room.

The question that employers and employees alike need to ask themselves is; Am I more productive, less productive or equally as productive as I was Pre-COVID? Is the work getting done? Are the customers happy? Is production on schedule? Many times most companies will find that they are in fact as productive, if not more productive and they employees are far happier that they were when they had to deal with office politics, traffic and a general sense of stress or dislike. Today, people are continuing to do what they like to do, what they were hired to do and without any of the outside influences that commonly attach themselves to the office environment.

It is, however, very important that the company has some sort of accountability policy or efficiency statement. There needs to be a system in place that creates a sense of responsibility and accountibility. People still need to answer to management and sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do when we are working from home. Creating some sort of “check-in” or workflow process statement is critical and must be done now before there is too much latitude generated to pull things back in.

Creating a method for process development will help in determining where the potential holes are and where the improvements need to be made. A manager can walk through a department and get a sense for the productivity in the room and be able to ask questions on the fly and make changes or modifications almost instantly. With a remote workforce, this is virtually impossible.

Make sure that everyone is on the same page and that there is a means for instant correction and also oversight. Creating a solidarity from a remote standpoint doers not have to be daunting but is absolutely must be done.

Contentment does not mean Complacent

These days it seems like people jump from job to job (called spring boarding) all in the hopes for more money, benefits, prestige or a myriad of reasons. Long gone are the days when you would begin and end your professional career with the same company.

I am also not too naive to recognize and appreciate the fact that those companies that people would give 20-30 years of their life to are few and far between. Companies that truly value the employee and recognize that growth may not have happened without them.

Those companies do exist and when you find one, you can rest in the fact that if you are contributing to the growth and success of the company, you will be rewarded with some sort of compensation. That compensation could be a pay raise, promotion, additional benefits or even recognition. That fact of the matter would be simply this; You are very happy where you are working and the company you are working for values you and your contributions. You both work hard to move toward the future and it is evident. This would be contentment, you are happy. Plain and simple, no need to move on to another company and even no desire to see what’s out there.

There is an explanation why people like to hold the remote control when watching TV. Basically it has nothing to do with the current show they are watching. The reason they want the remote is so they can see what else is on TV. They may be happy with the current show but they always want to know if there is something better to watch and there is the lack of contentment and they want more or better.

Don’t confuse complacent with contentment. If you cannot stand going to work every day, the people are terrible and there is discord, do something about it or simply become complacent and do nothing. If that’s you and you are frustrated then move on to see what else is out there or figure out a way to be content where you are. Nobody wants to do something they don’t want to do. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you are content or complacent.

Read our blog about pain and pleasure here.

Creating a Culture of Positivity

The American work culture is something of true value. Consider the following statistics:

  • Average work week of 50 hours or 9.4 hours per day
    • Other countries work an average of 20% less hours
  • 88% of US Citizens are considered Upper Middle Class or Wealthy as compared to rest of world
  • Average Yearly Income in the US is $61,937
  • Only 15% of US workers are unhappy with their current Jobs
  • The US Remains the worlds richest company per capita controlling $105.99 Trillion or about 30% of the entire worlds net worth

America loves to work. More than any country in the world, we have absolutely no discerning lines between work life and personal life. I believe this issue stems from our desperate need for material items. As Americans we are wasteful and materialistic. Because of our need and our children’s need to have STUFF we need to make more money. It is a really interesting paradigm. You look at other cultures and they have sacred days, or long vacations, or maybe shortened work weeks, but Americans we maybe get a week vacation after our first full year working.

Now believe it or not I am actually not looking to change the American work culture. Because guess what I am American and I like working and I like STUFF. I am however a proponent of making the work atmosphere as positive and enjoyable as possible.

Becoming ranked as one of the best places to work by Fortune is by far one of the best things that can happen to a company and I guarantee that they are successful because of the positive culture that exists. For your curiosity I have included the top 10 for 2020 below:

  1. Hilton
  2. Ultimate Software
  3. Wegmans Food Markets
  4. Cisco
  5. Workday
  6. Salesforce
  7. Edward Jones
  8. Stryker
  9. American Express
  10. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

We need to create winning, happy, positive, high energy offices at all of our companies and the only way to do that is to create a culture of positivity. The act of being positive decreases cortisol and your brain begins producing serotonin creating a happy feeling, in addition, one feels calmer less anxious and more focused. Guess what that means in the workplace? More production and more money!

Easy enough right? Just create an office full of positivity… Well this is often easier said than done. At an office there are a multitude of factors that make the mere act of being positive very difficult such as deadlines, bosses, stress, and money to name a few. Nearly every aspect of our life that we stress about revolves around money which revolves around our job.

In order to create a culture of positivity and an office that people want to work at the change has to start at the top. The key for success with this process is to search for people doing good. I think far too often in our work culture employees are only noticed when they do something poorly, especially as a mid level employee. We need to reward and encourage positive behavior by catching people in the act of doing something good. It does not matter what exactly they are doing, catch somebody doing something good even if it is just changing the ink in the printer, somebody has to do it. If the boss starts this positive encouragement it will become contagious in the office. This is a grass roots culture change but if you want to succeed it starts small.

People screw up it happens and you criticizing them or publicly coming down on them is not going to change that fact. I am by no means saying that there should not be a level of accountability because I believe in a proper accountability process as well. I am saying, that you will see a greater response from your employees and your bottom line if you encourage a culture of positivity.

We work a lot as Americans but this does not mean that we have to be unhappy. Encourage positivity in the workplace and watch your company soar.

References:

How Americans View Their Jobs

America-Global Income

Median US Income

“8 Hour Work Day”

Worlds Wealth

Best Companies

Wealth Is Discretionary Time

I recently decided to purchase a boat and a slip for easy access all summer long. Now I am sure you have all heard the phrase “better to know somebody with a boat than own one yourself” or “Boat, you know what that stands for, Bust Out Another Thousand”. Despite what everyone said I went forward with it anyways, as I usually do. Unfortunately, these tales have proved to be somewhat true, nothing major but one hundred dollars 10-20 times quickly adds up to thousands invested.

I am telling you this not to brag but to use it as an example for one of life’s greatest dichotomies. Let me outline the issue here using two quick contrasting statements:

  • Having a boat is great but having a boat is expensive.
  • I need time to use my boat but I have to work more hours to afford my boat.

You see, the two statements above perfectly illustrate the dichotomy between time and money. On the one hand the idea of having a boat appears incredible but the reality is that it costs a lot of money to maintain. Furthermore, in concept the next warm day may seem like a great boat day, but in practice you are stuck in the office working.

After reading hundreds of self help, business solution, and influential biography books, I have come to the realization that wealth is in fact discretionary time. If you were to go back to my 15 year old self and tell me that I would give up a half million dollar salary for a 4 day work week, I would have told you that you were crazy.

I talked about goals in a recent blog post and this is truly where it needs to start. When you are beginning with the end in mind, what exactly does the middle look like? Is it really worth earning a million dollars a year even though you have no time to spend it? Or is it better to earn 100k and be able to attend your child’s mid afternoon baseball game or have an 11am tee time?

Those questions are for you to decide and ultimately it is your life but I will urge you to consider the statement “Wealth is Discretionary time”. Better to be able to go to the beach, for free, on a Wednesday afternoon than have to leave your $50k boat docked on its slip all summer because you never had time to use it. 

We can always make more money but time, time is something that is finite. We have what we have, be sure to cherish it.