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Why companies should focus on timehack tools for flexible work hours.

Do we really need to put in 8-10 hrs continuously to really fulfill what is traditionally known as a full work day?

I think that technology has developed and become accessible to a point where not only can employees be accountable for their own productivity, but presence as well. Its important to rethink how a typical work day works and how companies should be structured for its employees in the future. Ever since telecommuting has become more and more prevalent, it not only making companies a prefer place to work, but impacts employee satisfaction.

I use to work at PayPal SEA and they provided the option to work from home. Some employees did once or twice a week, but many didn’t because I believe in this region (Southeast Asia) there is still a stigma of coming to work and showing face. Although, just knowing you had the option at PayPal to do so was empowering in itself.

It is a no brainer with technology companies and typically more common in the tech industry. What about other knowledge worker based companies that have the structure to allow such benefits and flexibility, but choose not too?

What is holding companies back from moving to a distributed/remote workforce?

One of the main concerns is measuring and managing accountability of a companies workforce. My advice for companies on the fence deciding whether or not to allow employees to work remote is to start a trail run.

Here are a few cases studies to refer to:

A Stanford study followed a Chinese travel agency with more than 12,000 employees that experimented by having 200 employees telecommute.

British telecom giant O2 experimented by instructing 3,000 of its employees to try working from home for a day.

Benefits: (There are plenty, but I”ll just name a few)

  • You can access/hire talent from anywhere.

  • Reduce office cost, lower insurance premiums by eliminating risk such as transportation cost.

  • Use web services to measure productivity and accountability

  • Internet Connectivity is on its way to become a utility allowing even greater reach worldwide.

Cons:

  • Not everyone is productive working from home or remote locations.

  • The dynamics for team collaboration do change a bit and sometimes might not work for the best.

  • The lack of face to face collaboration.

Commuting

For example, My dad works for a Pepsi bottler in NC. To reduce their over head in fuel cost and lower the risk of car accidents while traveling to sales meetings. The solution? They use GoToMeeting to augment a lot their meetings to reduce fuel cost and overhead for insuring their sales managers who travel for business. Commuting cost go down and chance of getting in a car accident is decrease dramatically. Of course this will never replace face to face interaction and it shouldn’t, but risk management is a huge cost for companies and if you can cut that cost significantly with all the tools available online it is worth trying out.

Reduction in commute time now turns into work time. This can save an employee 1-3 hours in there day alone. Instead of starting the work day at 9am and ending at 6pm. Leaving work at 4 or 5pm to catch a soccer game or see the kids right after school just became a reality.

-Jon

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