Introducing the Dimension Data ‘Manifesto for Smarter Working’
Technology has put smarter working within easy reach but company culture remains a hurdle for many
The way many of us work has changed dramatically in recent years. Flexible working is on the rise and managed properly the benefits are clear to see, from increased productivity to improved staff morale and better retention, all of which have a positive impact on the business bottom line.
Not everybody can work flexibly, of course, and not everybody can plan their day around when they are most productive. But for those who can there are still many who don’t, often for reasoning beyond their control, such as a company culture that dismisses or refuses to understand progressive practices such as flexible and remote working.
That’s why Dimension Data has produced a ‘Manifesto for Smarter Working’, to help both sides of the discussion overcome such cultural barriers. It is intended as a framework to help organisations and employees agree on five principles that should form the basis of a trusting, modern and flexible workplace culture.
We agree the office is just one place we can work
Even the sleekest of offices only suit most of the people, most of the time. There will always be instances where the office isn’t the best environment to work in. Whether somebody needs a quiet place to concentrate, or they are simply more productive and more motivated if they are able to work more flexibly, or from home on occasion, the office isn’t the only place people should work.
We do not need excuses to work smarter
Many people feel the need to excuse remote working with reasons unrelated to work, such as waiting in for a plumber. Working from home is often presented as a Plan B when getting into the office isn’t possible. But let’s focus on the positives and see it as a credible Plan A, because “I will get more work done, to a higher standard” should be the only reason anybody needs.
We know trust isn’t about turning up
Healthy relationships rely on trust earned through mutual respect and value. We shouldn’t have to be in an office for people to trust we’re working. Being productive is more important than being present and with clear lines of communication, goals, objectives and achievements can easily be shared, discussed and met, from anywhere, in a way that builds trust and mutual respect.
We believe great work can happen any time
When we do our best work is rarely dictated by what time it is. What matters most is delivering the best work possible, with consideration for others involved in the process. If our working day needs to align with the working day of suppliers, customers, clients and colleagues then there need to be core business hours. But when tasks can be done outside of core business hours then the freedom to work when we are most productive will benefit everybody.
We value working smarter over working longer
Being first in and last out doesn’t mean someone is working better or harder. It’s easy to fall into the habit of noticing the colleagues who are in the office before us, and there when we leave. But there is nothing to suggest they are working harder. Yet factors come up in discussions about pay rises and promotions. It is a strange quirk of office politics that somebody may be rewarded for being less efficient than their colleagues. We need to evolve the way we measure performance to focus on productivity, not hours and minutes.
We hope this Manifesto sparks healthy discussion. No two workplaces are the same but all should have common goals: to do the best work possible with a motivated and happy workforce. Compromise is essential, as is respect and trust. Hopefully by sharing these talking points we can help those organisations yet to unlock the full potential of a digitally-enabled, flexible workforce recognise the benefits of doing so.