Saturday, 29 June 2019

Too Remote?

Remote or distance working (often referred to as ‘working from home’) has become increasingly popular over the last decade.

There is no doubt that fir many job roles, the technology exists to facilitate such working. Access to company data and services is no longer a problem.

What is still a problem, however, is that most workers are not ‘solo fliers’ ... their role is part of a wider set of roles that constitute a team - and, often, the performance and success of the team depends on more than the performance of the individuals within it.

Success depends on how the group of people function as a team, sharing responsibility, handing off tasks to one another, supporting one another when something goes wrong and acting on the basis of mutual trust. 

This can happen with remote workers but only if the relationships hsve been built by face-to-face working before remote working is introduced and preferably when at least some of the team maintains a physical presence and co-working. The team needs to maintain the ‘glue’ of shared values, culture and trust that make them a team.

So, introduce remote working by all means but you must manage it. Decide which roles can be carried out remotely without breaking team spirit, team responsibility ... and team productivity.

Well planned and well managed, it can work, and can save costs and help some employees with work-life balance, child care, etc.  But if you don’t plan and manage it well, it could destroy team cohesion .. and cost you more in the longer term.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

What do you need to improve productivity?

Interesting question, is it not?  I guess you found it interesting or you wouldn't be reading this.

So what do you need?

Well fundamentally - just one thing.

A burning desire to identify and eliminate waste in all its forms - waste of resources, waste of effort, waste of talent, waste of time and so on. 

Once you've learnt to identify waste, it can become something of an obsession.  Seeing people wasting their time and effort makes you angry.  Seeing people who create processes that makes people waste their talent and effort makes you even angrier.

So, start to attune your radar.  If you don't know the 7 wastes of Lean, read up about them - and start to look for them wherever you go.  Calm your anger and think about how you would organise things differently to avoid the waste.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Life is ....

I used to ask myself the question...

What have you done today to improve the organisation?

Now I am older and wiser, I ask ...

 What have you done today to improve your life?

After all, work is part of life and we are understandably being asked to think about work-life balance.

Too many people don't think about their non-work life ... yet there is quite a bit of evidence to show that those who do - and have an active, balanced life, are more effective during work time,

Remember also, that life is what happens whilst you are waiting for something to happen. If you don't take control of your life, you are left at the mercy of ..... fate.

So, regularly ask yourself ...

What have I done today to improve my life?
What am I planning to improve my life?

Your organisation will be better for it!

Saturday, 1 June 2019

BREXIT will improve UK productivity???

UK productivity has been bad for quite a long time and productivity growth is currently low. 

What impact will BREXIT (the departure of the UK from the European Union) have?

Well, we don't know all the implications but here is one scenario.

The UK is currently a high employment, low wage economy with lots of people working part-time.  This means that for some time it has often been easier for firms to expand production by hiring new staff than by investing in capital equipment.

When the free movement of labour from EU countries ends,  there may, in certain industries, be a shortage of the right people with the right skills.  This will create problems .... but in the medium term, it will make capital investment seem more attractive and more financially viable. So, in the longer term, we may see a gradual move to a higher wage but more capital-intensive economy ...  with an associated productivity rise.

Its an ill wind .....