This Is what 'Freedom at Workplace' Means for Tech Leaders!

Gone are the days when people's expectations were fulfilled with a yearly increment and today the scenario has completely changed with the evolution of technologies and their adoption

What gets you the sense of cheerfulness at your workplace most? Is it job autonomy and freedom of taking decisions independently or is it the flexibility to work from anywhere anytime? Because everyone has their own pet peeves and individual style of working, it’s more than difficult to satiate everyone on board to ebullience. There are whinners and there are nose-sniffers around, and on top of that the bossy leaders who want you say words that they want to hear. Not to mention the vexations like your sluggish PC that make you blow a gasket every time it hangs. 

There are whinners and there are nose-sniffers around, and on top of that the bossy leaders who want you say words that they want to hear.  Not to mention the vexations like your sluggish PC that make you blow a gasket every time it hangs.

CIO on freedom at workplace

However, here are a few elements that almost every office-goer today craves for –flexibility of working from anywhere. The need for organisations to provide the option of flexible work hours has increased significantly due to various reasons, and different sectors are embracing flexible work hours as convenient to them. We spoke with a dozen technology experts including a global HR head to know how they decipher workplace-freedom.

While the degree of imbibitions may vary, organisations today are responding to this trend like never before by empowering their workforce with smart devices to deliver work from their convenience. The other big thing doing rounds is facilitating and triggering employees to do things differently, non-traditionally and cross-functionally in an easy work-culture. The idea is to make a connect between the way he enjoys working and the productivity that the management wants from him.

‘Liberty an employee gets to perform his duties within the contextual professional environment, without having to subscribe to a rigid thought process or top-down hierarchy is ‘freedom’’ says Sundararajan Narayanan, Senior VP and Global HR Head, Virtusa.

Flexibilities employees enjoy
Gone are the days when people were fulfilled with a yearly promotion and increment. Today the methodology of instant feedback mechanism can make a world of difference to the individual growth of an employee instead of piling it up for a scheduled review which is a long drawn process.

The nature of flexibility at workplaces also evolves. The latest spate of technologies including mobility, cloud, social are making it easier for people to connect and collaborate with one another. Technology today is not only driving increased sophistication but also simplifying consumption of various services. As a result, employees too want flexibility across all aspects of their working life.

Privileges such as work-from-home, maternity and paternity leaves are a given these days. Finding quality time to spend with family or pursuing one’s interests is just as important as the time required to develop and strengthen one’s career.

CIO on workplace freedom

Organisations are increasingly offering customized initiatives with regard to workplace privileges like health and wellness, family care, and counseling. ‘There is also the increasing trend of flexibility that employees are demanding of HR and CIO leaders –that of BYOD and BYOA,’ says the HR Head. 

Extending facilities to employees for social communication is a great means of increasing engagement. Increments, activities at work, etc gets communicated via digital platforms much faster than the old methods. Keeping this in mind, there are many social solutions available today that add to the employee engagement. Such platforms or for that matter enterprise social networking rouse workers to communicate amongst themselves, debate on interesting topics and draw the mind of others to pressing issues.

Having said, passion in one’s career is the driving force behind striving for excellence every day and this is perhaps the biggest factor driving performance. If you cannot love your work, you cannot be expected to deliver quality output. 

Gamification adds to productivity
Doing it the fun way is what everyone loves today. This is why many organisations embraced the technique of gamification and gaming mechanics such as leader boards, recognition and rewards internally to notify and establish performance benchmarks, enhance sales and client delivery. These techniques facilitate employees stay motivated in the competitive environment. Organisations are already seeing this approach of rewards and points as fun and engaging and motivational.

A workplace culture less bossy
A good work culture can bring in a winning mentality for everyone to leverage his own space. You can’t control what you can’t measure. You can track your office culture constantly to be able to identify areas they lag and areas they excel. Giving continuous feedback and encouraging the team on a job done nicely and replicating the same across various projects is essential. Being less iron-handed is overriding today to get the desired output from your team. The mentality of being a boss no more stands to achieve you anything apart from a rift. Realising that success is better achieved and teams work best when they collaborate is perhaps the most important area that people need to come to terms with, if they want to make their colleagues and employees happy. 

Its’ important to set expectations right at the beginning of any project which will be effective for the entire team to understand the nuances of. If the team is not briefed in the beginning it may lead to complications later. Similarly, the moment an issue is identified within a team or with an individual, it should be attended to immediately to ensure you save the time of the team and provide individual the scope for amendment.

The future of workplace
There is much to do and achieve in today’s fast-paced life. But you can’t achieve this in isolation.  As a CIO opines, ‘if weather is fine and tempting, move out to play Golf and work later in the evening.’ Work, work and work will take you nowhere. 

Envisage a workplace scenario like this: an ambience that sparks new ideas, a place that does not distinguish hierarchy, a culture which is easy-going, a management style that counts on work, not productivity.

Google for instance, is an example of how fun-filling can a workplace be. And you know Google’s ruling on everyone on a daily basis.  ‘People are at their best when they are given the opportunity to express their thoughts and personas, and have the opportunity to ideate, innovate and collaborate’, says the Narayanan, the HR Head.

‘One of the biggest demands from employees today is that of furthering their education and skills while continuing to work,’ claims the HR pro. From a professional point of view, each individual must understand their deliverables and use a sense of judgment of how best to meet them, irrespective of the place they are working from and the hours they choose.

The bottomline: The future workforce will be more diverse than ever. A mishmash of a culture that fosters collaboration and innovation, flexible policies and right tools will define the workplace of future.

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