I wanted to share some thoughts on flexible working and the relationship I believe that it has in helping to create a modern day organisation, which is able to grow and flourish in this brave new world.
As a management consultant, I am a specialist in business transformation. This whole area has become a hot topic for organisations with the introduction of the digital age, effectively a fourth industrial revolution is underway. Now what this means is that our old structures and ways of doing things are becoming less and less relevant and a real shift is starting to happen around what the organisation of the future needs to look like. In a nutshell, organisations need to have much more common and purposeful goals which evolve over time, they need to run on a network of self-managing teams with devolved areas of responsibility and they need to employee ‘all of a person’ not just their professional persona. This last point is critical as their culture is massively different to the command and control hierarchy that we still see so much off. It is based on innovation, creativity and people actually being happy at work. The thinking is that if a person can be who they really are, they are far more creative, productive and engaged with the organisation – which is really transforming into a community with a common set of goals.
As a side note, if you look at the key success factors for the countries who score highest on the happiness scale you will see that common goals, a sense of community and being a ‘whole’ person are all reoccurring themes so it would seem imminently sensible to try and recreate this in an organisation.
As a individual looking for a ‘Third Way’ (a more authentic approach to life which includes having a career and a life outside of that), this modern day organisation is highly attractive. It has the potential to recognise the full range of skills and creativity that someone like me/you/us can offer and also has a natural infrastructure to actively support flexible and agile working practices. They encourage time away from the desk as that is not where great ideas are generally borne, being honest about your priorities and constraints and working with you to manage them not penalise you for having them. They measure you on outcomes not time spent in an office and actively encourage flexible working around your other commitments to reduce your stress and play to your strengths.
If we can marry the organisation of the future with empowered and ‘whole’ people, this is where true transformation can be achieved – for the individual, the organisation and society as a whole.
I believe that the ‘fusion’ of happy individuals, not made to constantly compromise themselves and a purposeful, modern day organisation, stripped of archaic command and control practices is the way to make flexible working a reality.
For any of you interested in learning more about modern day organisations and the working model of the future google ‘teal’ management practices, take a look at Corporate Rebels, a company playing in this space and I also write a lot about it as part of my ‘day job’ on linkedin.
I hope you have found this helpful, have a great day x