To keep up, more companies will continue to allow many employees to do their jobs from any location, and set their own hours, to the degree it supports the customer base. Thanks to digital workforce management tools, there is no reason to assume that encouraging remote work will negatively affect the bottom line.
Silo Mentality vs. Transparency
Investopedia.com defines silo mentality as “a reluctance to share information with employees of different divisions in the same company.” Digital workforce management encourages transparency and information sharing. Hoarding information within teams, departments, and C-suites works against this goal. Today’s employees want to feel informed about business issues; they also want to have a say in company decisions that affect their job. Being able to trust company leadership is important to today’s employees, but there’s no room for trust when silo mentality prevails. Instead, break team silos, and build team collaboration.
The True Meaning of Freedom at Work
Being able to work remotely is one aspect of freedom at work. For Millennials, the true meaning of work freedom entails even more. In a Wall Street Journal essay titled “The Real Meaning of Freedom at Work,” organizational psychologist Dr. Adam Grant says “…people want the freedom to decide where they work. But they also want the freedom to decide who they work with, what they work on, and when they work.”
Digital workforce management tools can help leaders provide employees with increased freedom and flexibility by taking over day-to-day timekeeping and scheduling. Instead of making sure that team members are keeping busy, effective leaders focus on quality, and productivity, and trust employees to get the job done.
Adopt a Learning Mindset
According to a 2018 McKinsey report, automation and artificial intelligence technologies will transform the workplace by 2030. This transformation will require new digital skills. In many cases, a person’s ability to quickly learn new skills will be more important than what they currently know. Business leaders need to recognize this shift and give employees opportunities to expand their knowledge. Managers should be role models by showing they are eager to learn the necessary skills to stay current with modern technology.
Support Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Trend
As remote work has become more widespread, a growing number of employees have begun using their own devices for work. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend can mean savings in equipment costs, but it comes with the increased risk of cyber threats. Before allowing everyone to use personal devices for work, a company-wide BYOD information security plan should be implemented to define when and how personal devices can be connected to company networks. The plan should include guidelines for personal device usage, and steps to take if a device is lost or stolen, or if credentials are compromised.
Communication is a vital part of workforce management in the digital age. Without effective workplace communication, there can be no collaboration or innovation. Employees want to hear company news and they want to play a role in decision-making that affects them or their team.
Traditional email systems are often information silos. While there’s still a place for an email in a manager’s digital communication strategy, many workforce management software packages have support for instant message, video chat, workplace social networks, and other more dynamic communication tools. With more employees working from home, there’s always the danger of isolation. Management needs to encourage team members to have regular contact with each other and supply tools that make it easy to send a quick message or start a virtual meeting.
A final tip for leaders in the digital workplace: remember that employees are your company’s greatest asset. Even with automation and AI transforming the work environment, employees need to both see & feel that there is room for growth within their job. In the digital age, empowering employees to get their work done and helping them reach their potential is still a manager’s primary role.