Work was traditionally an eight-hour affair, conducted on weekdays and on fixed schedules with the odd break. For as long as we can remember, employees reported to a single workplace.
The great disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic engendered a certain realisation among the general working populace: that work can be done remotely and flexibly. This puts workers at the helm; indicators such as quiet quitting and employee-level outsourcing show that workers feel more empowered, according to a recent Fortune article.
That major shift, combined with modern digital technologies such as time-tracking software and collaborative virtual workspaces, made working from home – or anywhere else, for that matter – and at any time of the day, the norm. For many, this made returning to the office upon economic reopening an unattractive prospect if we are to take a look at a recent survey from Harvard Business School.
Productivity and performance matter more
Although the societal effects of the pandemic are waning, we cannot expect employee preferences to snap back to pre-pandemic conditions. As businesses and workers embrace hybrid and fully remote work setups, managers should focus more on their employees’ productivity and overall performance.
With presenteeism on the wane, judging employees by performance introduces a meritocratic work culture with the following advantages:
- Well-performing employees are appropriately rewarded. If you look at productivity as the primary metric of work performance, you can easily set up a fair reward system that awards incentives to productive employees. You can set goals and encourage employees to hit them with rewards.
- It helps managers identify key talents to nurture. By judging employees based on their productivity and performance, managers can tell who they have to empower or – in the worst case – lay off. It’s also a great way to find people eligible for a promotion.
- The employees get to work at their best hours. A focus on output encourages workers to do their best. Meanwhile, the flexible working hours practically let them choose to work on hours when they’re at their best.
- It helps the entire organisation perform well. When employees are encouraged to put in their best effort as they work on their preferred schedules, expect an overall boost to your company’s productivity. Simply put, productive people can help your organisation grow.
Of course, managers can also benefit from training facilitated by their organisation to better support their teams. This will help them cater to their employees’ needs whatever the work setup may be.