Friday, January 13, 2012

Business As We Know It

With so many advancements in technology, why are so many companies sticking to outdated business models?

With wireless, laptops, smart phones and tablets, we can work from anywhere. We no longer need to be present in a cubicle to get the work done. In fact, for many of us, getting out of the cubicle allows us to do more and better work. Why are companies stuck in the mindset that people need to be physically present to do the work?

In most companies, if you hire someone to do a full-time job and they are able to complete all the tasks in 30 hours a week, the employee is rewarded by getting more tasks added to their plate (tasks usually coming from someone who is not able to get their work done). Is this fair? If the employee wants more to do, then great. This is a win-win for everyone. There are a lot of people who will see this and then slow down on the work they do so they aren't given more and more. This doesn't benefit anyone.

We can talk about culture agreements and making the work environment fun and giving staff more privileges and the need for people to think and make decisions, but until we start treating employees as adults, none of it really matters. As employees, we are often stuck in the mindset that we come in at 9:00 and leave at 5:00 and other than those hours, we are free to do what we want. Yes, we may have some deadlines to meet and yes, we may work at other hours, but we have to be present between the hours of 9:00-5:00.

How would it change if people were actually allowed to figure out how to get everything done on their own time and in their own way? How much more could we accomplish and how many more ideas would come from staff who are fully engaged and enjoying their work (instead of just working for the weekend)? How much money would the company save if they weren't constantly tracking the hours and PTO of every employee in (or outside of) the building. How much more work would be accomplished if someone could work from home when they had a sick child or wanted to work from the beach on a long weekend?

We are stuck in a business model that may have worked 20 or 30 years ago, but isn't it time we started embracing a new way to do things? Sticking with something because it is the way it has always been done is a way to get left behind. I hear many people say they want to have a company where people are engaged, having fun and love their job. What happens if we started treating them like adults and stop running things with a factory mindset? Many companies continue to lose the best and the brightest because they don't fit in to the 9-5 crowd. They know they do their best work at night or early in the morning. Instead of being able to do their best work for the company, they start their own or find a place to go that will treat them like an individual and an adult.

The way we do business is going to change. Either you can help push the change, get the best and the brightest, make a difference and set the standard in your industry or you can continue to fall behind. It's your choice.


  1. Great points Joe. If they let employees work from home companies also save a bundle because they do not have to pay for brick and mortar, heating, and cooling and electricity for all of these 9-5ers.