Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Changing The Way We Work For Today’s World

If there’s one thing business leaders and thinkers can agree on, it’s that the way we work is changing. Thanks to a combination of technological advances, emerging global markets and demographic shifts, both the kind of work we’ll do – and how we’ll do it – is undergoing a radical transformation to better mirror the needs and demands of today’s global economy.

In a previous piece, I wrote about how the rise in employee disengagement in today’s workplaces is in part due to a disconnect between what we do and what we’re passionate about. Another key factor for the current decline in employee morale and motivation stems from the growing reality that the way we work is no longer in sync with the realities of today’s world.

Certainly, there can be little doubt that we now live in a information-driven economy that not only runs 24/7, but which sees us having to anticipate, grapple and adjust to changes that happen half a world away. And yet, so many organizations continue to lean on Industrial Age approaches – where desks are congregated like a modern day assembly line and work hours are measured to determine productivity and compensation levels.

Most organizations and their leaders do this because it’s the way we expect organizations to run, without taking into consideration whether it’s still relevant or effective in terms of how to best meet the needs of those we serve, or even if it’s what we want to collectively accomplish through our shared efforts.

Of course, any discussion of competing in a global economy understandably introduces the importance and value of encouraging diversity within the workplace to tap into new ways and approaches to address a particular situation.

But why do we have to limit this notion of diversity to visible or cultural differences? Why don’t we also recognize the diversity in how we approach work? After all, some of us do our best work in the morning while others find inspiration and productivity taking hold in the later hours of the day.

If we want to improve our creativity, our ability to innovate and be productive, shouldn’t our focus be more on what leaders can do to facilitate work getting done, as opposed to where it’s done and restricting it within a time frame which is increasingly falling out of step with how people communicate, share and collaborate?

Perhaps one of the clearest signs of this growing need to change the way we work has been the rise in popularity and usage of telecommuting in today’s workforce over the last few years.

Although initially offered by some employers as a perk to retain key talent who needed time at home to raise kids or tend to elderly parents, many employers have realized that allowing their employees to telecommute offers tangible benefits for their organization as well.

Indeed, studies have shown that employees who work from home are 10-20% more productive than their counterparts at the office. In this light, it comes as little surprise that the number of US employers that offer work-at-home options has risen from 30% in 2007 to 42% a year later.

While implementing any kind of organizational change can be challenging, how do we go about changing the way we work? In the article, “When to Let Employees Work from Home”, there are a number of points addressed which – while pertinent to creating an effective and efficient team of virtual employees – provide some valuable insights about what organizations and their leaders need to consider in terms of how to bring their organization forward to meet the demands of today’s economy and workforce.

It’s important to note that these cultural changes are not meant to address some distant future that some might try to glean by looking into their version of a modern-day crystal ball. Instead, these changes are key to operating within the realities of our present day – where information and ideas can be freely shared across the world, and where collaborations are no longer limited by geographical boundaries, but by institutional ones.

By adapting their approach and attitudes to work, organizations will also be able to attract and retain the key talent they’ll need to be both successful and nimble in today’s evolving global market.

Granted, some organizations have already heeded the call and are beginning to appreciate and understand the value and necessity of embracing the changes that define this ‘new reality’. The question that now remains is how many other organizations will soon join them, as opposed to stumbling along the fate several iconic brands are now grappling with – of riding off into the sunset of obscurity and irrelevance.

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20 Comments » | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | April 24, 2012 by |

  1. On April 24th, 2012 at 10:06 PM Andrea Kates said:

    Love that you highlighted new realities that can help companies do a better job of keeping up with what matters to employees. A win/win.

  2. On April 25th, 2012 at 7:56 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Andrea; had a feeling you would enjoy this piece.

    Great to see you see here on my blog; thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this, Andrea.

  3. On April 25th, 2012 at 2:34 AM Kathrine said:

    This is really a quite motivating post. In general if we accept the change then we will have more fun in our workplace and one will lead to the success. Thanks for sharing the post.

  4. On April 25th, 2012 at 7:58 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Youre welcome, Kathrine. I'm glad to hear you found this piece motivating to embrace the impending changes as new opportunities for growth, instead of challenges to what's known and familiar.

  5. On April 26th, 2012 at 7:27 AM vijay bargotra said:

    Tanveer, I have been following your posts, they are very motivating and inspiring. Change is the only way to grow and as you mentioned, the speed with which the work environment is changing, man needs to change faster, lest he shall lag behind. Thanks for you post again.

  6. On April 30th, 2012 at 9:46 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Vijay, for the kind words; I'm glad to hear you've been inspired by my writings.

  7. On April 26th, 2012 at 5:34 PM Brian Satterlee said:

    It is interesting how virtual workplaces are becoming reality. More and more we work from home because it really doesn't matter if we're here or there, as long as we're plugged in. I guess then it doesn't matter if we're here or in Siberia either, as long as we can connect with other employees, do the work, and let our bosses know what we did.

    It definitely is much easier to do business from home also.

  8. On April 26th, 2012 at 9:33 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Brian,

    It certainly is interesting to see how technology, and in particular our growing use of various social platforms, are facilitating our ability to move away from having to work in physical proximity to get the work done.

    This reality gets even more pronounced if you look at teenagers and young adults who will soon be bringing their own approaches towards collaboration and communication into the workplace.

  9. On May 7th, 2012 at 10:06 PM PEEJAY said:

    Very well said Tanveer…..

    It's very true that people working at home based are more productive than working in office because me myself had try it before….
    But for me, working at home alone is kinda boring, its driving me crazy, can't talk to no one…..

    Both home based and in office have advantage and disadvantages..

    Thank you for this post…

    KEEP IT UP..

  10. On May 11th, 2012 at 10:23 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    You're welcome, Peejay. Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. On May 10th, 2012 at 3:01 PM Tim said:

    Working from Home is great when you can get it. More agile, progressive companies are at least entertaining the idea or have implemented parts at least on some level.
    Good post Tanveer, thank you.

  12. On May 11th, 2012 at 10:25 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Tim,

    I think we'll see more of this shift as organizations and their leaders focus less on where and when we work, to what their employees need in order to be successful in their efforts.

    Glad you enjoyed this post as well.

  13. On May 11th, 2012 at 12:58 AM Mujayath said:

    Hello Guys, I am a new member of AIM. I studied Tanveer Naseer, Brian Satterlee and others comments. The rubrics are really intriguing, motivative and insprirational. The whole credit goes to technology and it innovators. Because of technology and internet we connected together and working from home and doing multitasking.

  14. On May 11th, 2012 at 7:08 AM Jim Matorin said:

    Given my commute is 10 feet, I am all for telecommuting. The biggest change I envision coming down the road is for companies to finally come to the realization that meetings are a black hole, they should lock down their conference rooms two times a week and stress to their employees the power of communication and execution. Constant meetings are causing people to be in a state of constant Heinz (as in catch-up). Their productivity sometimes flows like ketchup thanks to all the meetings.

  15. On May 11th, 2012 at 10:40 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Ah, yes. The dreaded meetings. I agree with you that that's another element from the old management playbook that requires a major retooling and reassessment.

    And honestly, it's not even that hard to do if you start with the focus of 'what do we need to do to succeed?'. For example, I serve as the chairman for one of the regional high schools and in one of the first meetings, I put forth this idea that instead of starting our meetings with people providing reports about their department, these reports would be sent in advance with the meeting agenda for all members to review.

    Now if there's something in particular the dept head wishes to address/bring forth or if there's something others would like more details on, we use that time in the meetings for that. Naturally, in most cases, there is nothing to add since in the information is in the report.

    As such, what used to take 15-20 minutes now takes less than 5 because the focus is not on simply sharing information, but using pertinent information for us to make informed decisions that will help us succeed in fulfilling our objectives.

  16. On May 16th, 2012 at 12:14 PM Harry Stowey said:

    Times have changed tremendously even in the past 10 years. I think more and more people are realising that the traditional way of doing things isn't always the best, and that indeed we MUST change the way we work in order to keep up with modern lifestyles and technology,

  17. On May 17th, 2012 at 10:27 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Harry,

    Of that there can be no question. Unfortunately, there are still so many organizations that insist that they can operate like they used to 10, even 20 years ago. Trying to avoid the reality of what's going on around you never ends well.

  18. On May 24th, 2012 at 2:50 PM Michael said:

    We certainly no longer live in a nine-to-five world, and many companies (many large, established ones) fail to recognize that. Employee morale is on the decline, and a lot of this (in my opinion) is due to companies forcing workers to work inflexible hours and be in their office certain hours because that is always how it has been done, even if this is not beneficial to the clients. Hopefully companies will come to realize this and evolve.

  19. On May 25th, 2012 at 7:37 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    You're right, Michael that we no longer live in a nine-to-five world. Unfortunately, what's starting to happen is that we continue to work well past and before these typical office hours.

    For example, I just read about a study done by Harvard Business School which found that 48% of executives checked their smartphones over the weekend, and 51%of them were on the phones continuously while on vacation.

    Given how leaders model the behaviour of those they lead, it's not hard to imagine how this trickles down to those they serve.

    As I write in this article, a smarter approach is not to simply extend the work hours, but to tap into those key hours where employees are most productive. After all, it's not how hard you work, but how smart you work.

  20. On July 6th, 2012 at 2:27 AM Linda said:

    The post is quite interesting Tanveer …again another motivational post. It feels good reading your article. It gives a good support and confidence to us. Change is always essential to us; without that nothing goes well. It is how we utililze it. Thanks for the share.

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