Mobile workplace trend has been increasing, and the adoption are not only by start-ups or small medium companies, but also large corporations. Each businesses have their own reason of adopting this trend as well as their own interpretation of mobile workplace. In simplistic way, the definition of mobile workplace is enabling workers to work anywhere, without obligations of attending office premises like in traditional workplace.
The idea of mobile workplace is attractive for workers and some businesses use it to attract talents, but yet at the same time it brings up a big question on how to adopt this model especially for enterprises who have been in traditional workplace model for decades. It is easier to adopt this model for startups and small businesses, but for enterprises, it will need planning, stages of adoption and intensive communication – a transformation plan.
Enterprises often ask if they should embrace this new trend and questioning about the benefits. Each business has to identify itself about the benefits of adopting mobile workplace. The benefits are vary from optimizing or reducing cost of work space, increase productivity by cutting commute time for workers, attract millennials talent, and many more. It is all back to how this model can help our company to be more productive and grow rapidly.
At StrategArt, we adopt 100% mobile workplace model. Based on the learning from our experiences and analysis on other businesses, I would like to share some of our thoughts. Despite of the business size, and whether it is a new implementation or transforming from traditional to mobile workplace, each business needs to consider several points below and prepare these things to embrace mobile workplace:
- Leadership of your middle management.
- Micro-Metrics: building blocks to KPI
- Workers demography
- Roles with exception
- Be serious on technology adoption
1. Leadership of your middle management.
It is all about people, from people and for people.
What makes a company great is not only the process or technology used, but mostly its people. To make our people giving their best, middle management has to be able to drive and monitor their team progress towards the goal. They need to be proactive, independent, hands-on, but also has empathy and fair judgement on workers’ situation.
2. Micro-Metrics: building blocks to KPI
There is a perception, that not-being in the same room with your workers makes it difficult to monitor their work. People tend to think that if you can see your team members than you can make sure they are working. Well, that is not entirely true. On the other side there is a perception, that as long as you have KPI for each team members then you are all set. KPI for each team members is definitely important, but it is designed to be achieved within a certain period of time, annually or quarterly. KPI also consists of the results we want the team members to deliver. The question is that if KPI is not achieved by the end of the period, it is too late for us to rectify the business result, and we are not delivering result to our stakeholders.
Therefore, we need to have building blocks that lead to KPI achievement. These building blocks – I call it Micro-Metrics. Every role in the company should have KPI and Micro-Metrics. Micro-Metrics is granular steps that lead us to KPI. They are not partial or slices of KPI items or numbers, but they are key important activities that need to be done to deliver KPI. With these Micro-Metrics, your proactive middle management will be able to measure team’s progress and team members can reflect on how they are progressing towards KPI. Micro-Metrics is a common language that is used daily while workers are not in the same room with their leaders. With Micro-Metrics, companies can minimize or avoid missing KPI commitments, and have chances to do turn-around.
I will make a separate writing on Micro-Metrics to elaborate deeper, but in short, Micro-Metrics need to be simple and easy to measure. Do not make it as another complex KPI.
3. Workers demography
When we were migrating to mobile workplace model, our team members’ tenures and working experiences were vary. We had team members with years of experience, and those who were new to the roles. After a while we run this mobile workplace, our team members who were new to the roles were resigning. After deep conversation and analysis, I found that they felt alone, don’t know what to do, they were looking for guidance and peers to talk to and exchange ideas, and finally they got depressed, and therefore they resigned.
So if you have fresh graduates or team members new to the job or roles (less than
4 years experiences), then you need different approach for this demography. Mobile workplace will not work for them. Open office space works for this demography. It is not about Millennials demography. It is about working tenures. This demography requires constant engagement and guidance until they have sufficient maturity at work. I will write more about this in separate writing.
4. Roles with exception
There are some roles that naturally might not be able to adopt 100% mobile workplace such as roles in finance, accounting, tax, etc. There are some amount of physical documents involved in these roles that requires diligent & proper handling, as not every country or every companies apply electronic documents. It involves confidentiality, company information exposure and proper storage as required by the law. We can’t ensure the compliance of those issues above if we have the documents are brought home by the workers. So in this case, we need to decide in which cases that the team members can work mobile.
5. Be serious on technology adoption
This model will not work without serious adoption of technology to enable team members to work and collaborate as if they are in the same room. Many technology and products are available to support mobile workplace, but not all of them are needed. Adopting all technology available in the market will not make our mobile workplace initiative successful. It doesn’t have to be huge investments, but careful planning and technology selection can save a lot of cost in adopting technology.
From my personal experience deploying mobile workplace, we managed to review and pick critical technology providers and products that cost us minimum compare to other expenses in our operations. Some basic technology requirements are productivity tools, corporate-friendly communication platform for team members to collaborate and meet virtually, communication provider to save cost on internal communication. Modern workers mostly prefer to use their own devices, so BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) is a good initiative for cost reduction and workers satisfaction. BYOD will need careful design and plan for technology security and financial cost calculation to give maximum impact and benefits to corporations and employees. I will discuss this part in more detail separately.
I hope this sharing can help you to land down the mobile workplace initiative. I will have to write separate writings for some of the points to make this article as short as possible. I hope you enjoy reading this article.