Many entrepreneurs and businesses think they work smarter when actually they don’t. Here are some classic errors – you might think you’re working smarter when you do these things, but you’re not.
1. Tell everyone to work from home on Friday
Not only is this not smart, it’s not even flexible, as Microsoft's Dave Coplin once pointed out to me. Telling everyone they must work a nine to five in the office is definitely not working smart; telling them they must work somewhere else is not smart either. How about telling them to work whenever and wherever they need to in order to get a task done instead?
2. Manage by exception
What? You allow people with maternity needs flexible working? Of course you do, so you should. But what about everybody else? This isn’t about management by exception, as Flexibility.co.uk’s Andy Lake tells me, this is about having flexibility throughout your organisational culture.
3. Give everyone a smartphone and headset
Sure, everyone will take it. But if you think this is a technology issue rather than an HR thing as well, you’re kidding yourself.
4. Measure people by their time
It’s easy for me, I’m freelance so I’m paid and measured by outputs only. But if your business is about getting tasks done, why are you measuring anyone by anything else? Years ago I worked in an office and yes, they paid for my time. And they had a whole load less out of me than I get out of myself as my own boss. Why not capture that freelance spirit and put it into your company?
5. Train people who want to work remotely or flexibly and not worry about the rest
Uh-uh. Not good. Microsoft did some research and found that although the popular image is that a manager has to be trained to supervise a staff he or she can’t see in front of them, they get the hang of it pretty quickly. The people who sit next to that now-empty chair in the office, however, are the ones who’re going to start resenting other people having a better work style than they do. They assume someone who’s away can’t be working, they guess they’re not pulling their weight. That’s where the whole smarter culture starts to fall to pieces because people don’t trust each other. You really, really need to make smarter working a cultural change across your enterprise.