Monday, 9 January 2017

Here's to a Prosperous and Productive New Year

I hope you all had a good break and have retuned to work re-energised and looking for a new challenge. As usual my thoughts turn to new ways in which we can improve workplace wellbeing and productivity.

In the recently published Stoddart Review, my research from 2012 was reported as showing that a 1% to 3.5% increase in productivity could be gained through improved workplace design. The reported figures actually refer to single design factors and the research shows an improvement of 5% to 7% is more likely if several factors (temperature, acoustics, air quality, lighting, space and furniture etc.) are addressed in a well-designed workplace. If you don’t have time to read the full Stoddart Review then take a look at the summary published in the Sunday Times, both downloadable for free.

In the nineties myself and others estimated that environmental factors could produce up to a 10% improvement in productivity. We knew that larger productivity gains were achievable through improved organisational factors (motivation, recognition, financial reward, management, training, job security etc.), see Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory. During my now 19 years of workplace consulting and implementing agile working, a recurring issue raised by the middle management is how to successfully manage remote workers. For many of us in the UK, once we become leaders in our chosen profession, we are “promoted” to managing a team of the same profession. Quite often this reassignment is made regardless of our aptitude for management and without any formal training, i.e. the Peter Principle.

It is therefore perfectly reasonable that managers say they lack the skills and tools to manage their remote workers (although sadly the reality is that some lack the tools to manage teams whether remote or not). It is also quite common to find that some staff are better suited to remote working than others. I have therefore teamed up with Network for Skills to offer training on remote working – both for managers of remote teams and remote workers. We have already trained 350 Legal Aid Agency managers and have developed a public course. We are also developing a system that rates the suitability of individuals for remote working based on their role, personality, manager and home working set-up etc.

If you would like to meet up for an informal chat to discuss the Stoddart Review or training in remote working then just ping me an email. I trust you will have a prosperous and productive New Year.

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