Heroes, not slackers

Alison Maitland's picture

Great piece by Andrew Hill in today's FT titled "Flexiworkers are heroes, not slackers", on how the Olympics are testing managers' traditional assumptions about how work gets done. As he rightly says, managers' fears about losing control, and employees' (directly related) fears about being seen as slackers, are holding back the spread of new working practices. This is usually to the detriment of business.

We find a common misapprehension is that giving people freedom over where, when and how they work means that they will work permanently from home, which always raises fears about loss of social contact. First, there are plenty of  tools to enable online collaboration and conversation with dispersed colleagues, as companies like IBM amply demonstrate. But second, most of us do - and will - still need to meet colleagues and contacts in person sometimes.

Managers need to give people as much autonomy as possible, helping them to get the right mix. And they should judge them on their objectives and outcomes, not on the number of hours it takes them, or whether they are tied to their office desk for pointlessly long hours.

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