The Information Age has changed everything.
No matter which business sector a company is in, it needs to become a technology company to survive -- and the Culture needs to change right along with it.
Five decades ago, the average S & P company's life spanned for more than 50 years. Today that same average is 25 years and shrinking. Why? It's likely these companies haven’t adapted to the evolutionary shift into the Information Age…and because of this, are dissolving.
For the companies that are evolving, they understand this shift and have embraced it. The future IS technology and since there will be an ever increasing demand for those who can create it, aligning a company's workplace Culture to adapt to this expanding need is a must.
Let’s look at the Truth
Developers, engineers and others in technology do their “magic” and work on electronic devices which don’t restrict them to location or geography.
The Real World
I am involved with a technology startup that has “task based” Culture. The entire team meets once a week at a central location to “physically” collaborate and then they go their separate ways to handle business items needing handling. I asked one of the developers how he liked the Culture and he said, “I love it, mostly because I wake up with my computer and go to sleep with it. But when I have to get dressed up and commute to an office, it’s a distraction”.
In another company I advise, the Leadership doesn't care if their employees work from the Moon, as long as they meet the expectations that were set by both parties.
So unless an employee has to physically make or create something, interact with another or customers, cook a meal or punch a ticket, there is no longer a solid reason for them to be inside a company, working together.
And when we take in consideration that Autonomy is #2 on the list of the wants, needs and demands of employee’s today (right behind # 1 – Purpose), companies may want to think twice about not allowing telecommuting or working remotely to help attract and retain top talent.
Rationale for not Evolving
Some say that speed and efficiency is lost while telecommuting or working remotely. Could be, but only if the processes, procedures and expectations aren't properly set.
And others say communication and relationships are sacrificed. Maybe back in the day, but the people I know communicate, build and form relationships on electronic devices a lot more than by meeting in one location and talking face to face.
We are not saying there isn't value in speed, efficiency, communication and relationships within an organization; because there is. However, the value of liberty and autonomy that we all enjoy in the Information Age has tipped the scales.
So does telecommuting or remote work need to be 100% or nothing? No, any adaptation will be appreciated and then naturally evolve over time.
Remember, it’s the Information Age that has shaped the way we do things in our private lives. Naturally, our work lives should at least allow us the same liberty and autonomy, especially when our work does not restrict us to location or geography.
Companies that will evolve in the Information Age will do so, by allowing telecommuting and working remotely to be part of their Culture.
After all, it is in alignment with: 1) the wants, needs and demands of the employee in the ever increasing war for talent; 2) decreasing the need for companies to provide workspace, and: 3) helping save the time and costs of commuting for the employee– not to mention, decreasing the carbon footprint – all helping to make the world a better place.