If you work in London you’ll no doubt be one of 3.5 million people that travel on London’s Tube network every day. Many of you will have seen the article in Wednesday’s Evening Standard – “Midnight email from the boss: Don’t be late” and groaned at the similarities between the article and your work life balance. It seems us Brits are among the world’s worst bosses when it comes to acceptable levels of lateness and demand the highest standards of time-keeping – no mean feat when you consider the delays, rush hour madness and complications often felt by users of the Tube. The article also referenced a recent survey conducted by Telligent into the use of social software in the workplace; stating that only 11% of UK firms have the tools and access needed for employees to work remotely.
So what does this all mean? Well, quite clearly it shows UK employers are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to virtual working. Rather than equip employees with the tools to better perform their jobs outside of the office, they would rather concentrate on clockwatching and demanding loyal service from employees irrespective of personal commitments and responsibilities. To this end, the article stated: “One in six UK bosses believes the cut-off point (for contacting staff) is between 10pm and midnight”.
After reading the article, I had an interesting thought – Surely, if UK employers need certain members of staff on call after 10pm at night, something must be drastically wrong with the way their company operates as a whole. Businesses today need to be agile, have access to a wealth of skills and knowledge, be able to commute easily across time and geographical distances and be able to operate undisturbed by the personal commitments of its employees. Any business that relies on one person is like a house built of cards – waiting to be blown over in the wind. There’s an age old saying that springs to mind – “Strength in numbers”! A business’ strength lies in its employees and if key operations rest in the hands of one person, that business is doomed to failure.
It’s with that thought in mind I say, UK businesses wake up! Stop concentrating on the menial things, like clock-watching and whether someone is available to take business calls at 10pm at night, and start looking at the bigger picture. Start looking at how your employees communicate, how they share information, what systems you have in place to give them remote access to important documents. Ask yourself, do you have a pool of resources you can call on to help answer your questions or deal with code red situations? If you don’t, you need to get your moon boots on and make one giant leap for Business Kind, towards the Social Enterprise.
Elena SavvidesInternational Marketing Manager
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