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July 11, 2017
How a flexible workplace motivates staff and increases productivity
Francesca Brady

It’s fair to say that modern offices are miles ahead of the barebones designs that were prevalent throughout most of the 20th century. It’s almost impossible to find a workplace without computers and wireless internet, and now many companies are beginning to implement high-tech improvements including smart solutions to manage their premises. There is a good reason why companies are willing to invest in the hardware, software and organisational infrastructure necessary for a fully digital workplace; that reason has a lot to do with productivity and profitability.

Let’s break this down to its essential components and demonstrate why flexibility is an undervalued resource for the contemporary employer:

People enjoy small freedoms

Instead of uniform rules and administrative restrictions, flexible workplace organisation puts an emphasis on boosting team performance through new means. If employees prefer to take two short coffee breaks instead of a single longer one, the same number of hours has been accounted for, but the workers will generally be happier. Some companies in the IT sector (notably Google) have pioneered this approach where workers can decide when and how to complete their daily tasks, with tremendous results. The word is out, and now businesses from other industries are doing their best to adjust this model to fit their unique circumstances.

Great resources make a difference

It’s obviously much easier for employees to find their comfort zone if they have abundant resources at their disposal. Instead of spending their time looking for basic information, they can take advantage of integrated information systems to accelerate the execution of routine tasks and save their mental energy for more serious challenges. This removes a source of frustration and replaces it with comprehensive and reliable support, dramatically changing the mindset of workers. Of course, everyone wants to work for a company where all files are downloaded quickly, reports can be sent from a mobile phone and lunch is free!

Linking efficiency with rewards

Tracking results through objective means and storing them for later analysis are trademark features of intelligent office management systems. They allow for data-based assessment of employee performance, with financial compensation and promotions awarded on actual, documented merit. Employees will try harder if they believe they are being judged fairly, making it worthwhile for bosses to give up arbitrary decisions and adopt a more flexible management style.

Stimulating exchange of ideas

Great ideas are often born out of casual conversations between colleagues outside of the official framework of a project.  While time is measured closely in the modern workplace, some companies intentionally reserve space for informal brainstorming and similar exercises that help draw out unorthodox suggestions. When the pressure is off, people get more creative and develop terrific proposals that truly break new ground. There is a lot of financial value in the collective exchange of opinions, but only forward-thinking companies know how to harness this untapped potential.

From all of the above, it is obvious that business owners have plenty of incentives to encourage them to think outside the box and search for new innovations to motivate their teams. While some investment is necessary to create a truly flexible and interactive environment, the long-term benefits are sufficient enough to justify the financial commitment. However, it’s important to note that technology alone can’t increase productivity without active effort on the part of the management team.

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