To say that Millennials can be seen as chief agents of change would be an understatement.
They now make-up a hard-to-ignore percentage of the workforce, pushing employers to adapt and cater to the diverse ethos they bring to almost any position – the whole work/life balance is one prerequisite regularly brought to the table, often causing many interviewers to see such demands as red flags. That being said, this precocious bunch of job seekers ARE rapidly changing the way employees are monitored (like it or not), a catalyst for success of the much spoken-about ROWE (Results Oriented Work Environment).
Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin:
For those who oppose the face-time work environment:
It would seem common sense that one would be judged professionally on output rather than hours spent at one’s desk. Surfing for the latest fail videos or updating one’s relationship status on social media at work – safely behind a strategically positioned computer monitor – should not be seen as a necessary escape from admonishment.
One great advantage of a non face-time environment stems from the simple fact that employees with greater freedom tend to be happier (unlike the majority of Singapore’s unhappy workers). The empowerment they experience actually causes them to be more vested in their position – thus taking ownership of their contribution to a company. Having a boss breathing down one’s neck and asking why lunch took 15 minutes too long tends to be a mood dampener to a certain extent.
It has been documented that employees of today often value flexibility at work over salary increases. It’s better to allow them to pick-up their dry-cleaning and come in a bit late rather than have it on their minds the whole day. A happier employee is a better employee. Enough said.
For the proponents of face-time
For those who sit on the other side of the fence, there is much to be said for the structured and age-old 8-hour workday.
For many, the responsibility of managing one’s own schedule is not something that they would value. The abovementioned structure is something they are used to and find the constraints (or rather privilege) of their office space and designated hours a positive crutch to lean on when it comes to planning their workload.
It should also be pointed out that if results are going to be a metric, some vocations simply cannot define KPIs tangibly enough. It is all well and fine for sales professionals to work autonomously or a graphic designer to work on a deliverable basis but a nurse is not appraised based on a volume game.
Such a system (the ROWE one) will absolutely NOT work in occupations that encompass customer-service, the medical field or hospitality, where constant client/customer relations are the primary function of the role. A waiter simply can’t say that they will work remotely to boost productivity. Period.
It is safe to assume that the face of work will change considerably over the next decade. What we need to find is a happy medium, one where bosses are not constantly on their employees tail for proof of input and where staff understand that the primary role of management to run any business/department is to reap profits – profits that can only come from a combination or smart work and a relatively reasonable amount of elbow grease. Employees should aim to earn trust at the workplace and not assume that it is a given. It’s all a question of give and take.