What changes could help your team hit milestones faster?
In the first of this two-part series, I covered how tapping into the right talent and allowing greater flexibility regarding when work gets done can be a game-changer for organizations. Here, I’ll shed light on two more approaches that might seem counterintuitive at first, but can have a significant lasting impact on your business.
Delegate more decision-making to managers.
In developing a productive work environment, managers are the key to promoting worker satisfaction, balancing costs, and improving organizational efficiency.
From personal experience, managers are in the tricky and stressful situation of managing headcounts, which can clash with personnel needs and budget constraints. A workaround for this involves hiring freelancers, who can step in to increase your capacity when needed without increasing a department’s full-time employees (and the expenses that come with them).
Depending upon where your organization falls within the onsite-to-remote work continuum, you may have a culture that needs a lot of adjustment to enable asynchronous work with employees and contractors, or if you already have some distributed staff, you may have a smoother transition bringing freelancers on board. (See Matt Mullenweg’s Five Levels of Autonomy in Distributed Work for more details on the types of .)
This is why my team at Stoke has focused on delegating budget management to managers directly.
Managers know what they need more than high-level professionals who may be further away from day-to-day activities. They should be trusted to find the best talent while also working around budget constraints.
Having a tool that makes handing off hiring and direct budget management to managers saves time, money and frustration. And delegating this responsibility to managers enables all team members to reap the benefits of remote work and flexible hiring, while promoting a culture of agency and autonomy.
With the surge in newly minted freelancers and agencies as a result of recent economic changes, a platform like what we’ve built at Stoke ensures that companies can take advantage of available highly-skilled talent to hire non-payroll workers with confidence.
Focus exclusively on results instead of visibility.
Many studies have revealed that remote work encourages an increase in productivity. Global Workplace Analytics, a research and consulting firm, found that telecommuters from Best Buy, British Telecom, Dow Chemical, and many other companies were 35 to 40 percent more productive than their in-office colleagues. Additionally, the firm also revealed that 46 percent of companies that allowed telework said that it reduced attrition—a significant impact on productivity.
One of the reasons why stats like these exist is that remote work requires a mindset shift. Office attendance (who shows up) is no longer a key performance indicator—alternatively, results (what they produce) become the focus.
Remote or even hybrid work arrangements mean you don’t have the opportunity to walk over to an employee’s desk to confirm they’re working on something. As a result, there has to be a higher level of trust among everyone involved.
This is especially true if you want to establish unity between remote and onsite employees. Everyone has to be on the same page, and results are a better indicator of who is productive versus attempting to keep track of who’s sitting at their desk each day.
In my opinion, using tools to closely monitor the work of freelancers or full-time remote workers defeats the purpose of true autonomy. Remote work forces high-level leadership professionals to delegate, cede control when needed, and spend time focusing on the things they’re meant to do. The focus then shifts to creating processes that make it easier for teams to do their best work from wherever they are.
A few closing thoughts for you to consider:
- What are your biggest workflow pain points? Could contingent workers help to solve them?
- What will it take from a process perspective to move your organization to a fully remote or hybrid environment?
- What could you be delegating to your managers? How could they help to further implement a remote culture?
- What are your current personnel needs? Do you need more flexibility (freelancers or independent contractors), more full-time employees, or both?
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Note: the above are intended to be prompts for important conversations you could be having with your leadership team, rather than the start of a monologue. Whether you’re considering a temporary or permanent remote work setup, if you keep the above options in mind, moving to a more flexible workforce could catapult your productivity.