I see many things that go on in the corporate world that just don’t make sense any more. A good deal of us work in jobs where we put in “face time”. We all know people who got promoted because of face time and not because of results. We are entering a period where the global economy and the fast pace of change in the world are not going to let companies get by with this. Why? Because the new generation of workers (Gen X and Gen Y) aren’t going to put up with it. They will simply leave for greener grounds…and they already are.
I frequently find myself considering my career and how differently things would have turned out if only the work had been managed in a more intelligent manner. The desire to judge co-workers by how long or how much they are in the office working…argh!
As a company, you can either be scared of what is happening and do nothing and go out of business, or you can adapt to the change and not only survive but thrive. It won’t be easy, and some of the good old boys will no doubt be the first ones out of the door but in the end it will make the company better, and employees dedicated and productive like you wouldn’t believe.
As an employee, you can see how good things can be. You can see why you don’t need to beg for an hour off to see your dentist. You don’t have to feel guilty for staying home with your spouse and having a relaxing day off. You don’t have to make up excuses for being few minutes late and getting talked-to by the boss, despite the fact you added more to the bottom line than anyone else.
As “worker bees” we think that change has to come down the ladder. No – the change has to come from the employees, like us, demanding the change. It’s a bit cheerleader-ish, sure, but excitement generated among large groups of employees will get this done, not convincing a couple of ossified managers.
Employees should be trusted with their time and held accountable for their performance. However, most corporations actually approach work in exactly the other way, since it’s easier to judge attendance than performance (while often confusing the two completely). Work wherever, whenever and however you want as long as you produce the desired results.
The 40-hour work week is a vestige of factory work (when you really did need everyone there at the same time). Until the advent of information technology, proximity to work and shopping centers was mandatory. In a knowledge-based economy with ubiquitous internet access, location is irrelevant. Imagine what traffic and cities would look like, if you designed them under the premise that people work out of their homes, or away from a centralized office 80% of the time. Think about the ramifications of location independence from the standpoint of “going green”, for a minute. When location doesn’t matter, why drive in to the office unless you have to? Why do commutes take so long to begin with?
Face time is often wasted time. We work in the information age but the workplace has not changed since the industrial age. With today’s technology, there is no need for people to be working at the same time and place but an advantage of being self-employed with the steadiness of a paycheck.
As Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Where do you work? Doesn’t matter. What time of day you work? Don’t care. Did you get your stuff done on time, or early? That’s what I’m talking about! The idea is intriguing – eliminate the concept of “face time” and treat everyone like grownups.
And I hope that when we hear the phrase “9 to 5”, all we think of is a lovely song by Dolly Parton.