July 21, 2011
The sun is shining and you're having trouble staying focused at work. Is there a way to get motivated when summer is in full swing?
One expert feels you'll get more done in the summer if you bring your office to the outdoors, rather than staying inside wishing you were somewhere else.
"Because of technology people can work from wherever they want, and we encourage this for worker productivity," says Bryant Rice, director for DEGW, a business consultancy firm. "Ten percent of the people might abuse this and not do the work, but 90 percent will do it and be happy about doing it remotely."
Rice says when you give an employee the trust and flexibility to work in other ways, they wind up giving the company more time. He suggests either allowing employees to clock in from another location for a change of scenery, or trying a 10-hour workday in exchange for a day off during the week.
"We see that employees will actually do more when they are not in the office because they don't want the boss to doubt they are working," he says. "Very few people will abuse this privilege because they view it as a perk."
If your manager doesn't offer a flexible schedule, Rice suggests taking the initiative by bringing it up with them. But a manager's personality could be a factor on whether or not the idea will be well received.
"It takes a more creative and confident manager to work with people who are not always in the office," he says. "It's only with the traditional managers that we will see resistance."
Here are some suggestions to making flexible hours and telecommuting work for you, whether you're the boss or the employee.
Revise your schedule
Create a calendar that allows the staff to take a day off a week and rotate or trade the days so you maintain work continuity. "You'll want to post this calendar for everyone so there is no confusion as to who is working when and where," says Rice.
Establish a summer cell phone policy
Facilitate those flexible hours by agreeing to be reachable beyond typical business hours. "Just make sure you are reachable until 7 p.m., and that way the boss won't be upset if you leave at 3:30."
Bring the party to the office
Schedule a team trip to the game, or coordinate a Friday afternoon outing. "If there's nothing on the calendar, submit ideas to management," says Rice. "I recommend my clients create programs and presentations that are two steps away from the core of their work, so if you are an architect, take a trip to the public gardens."
Divide big tasks into more manageable segments
For instance, if you have a large project looming, suggest smaller deadlines to keep the team focused. "This can mean allowing someone to go out of town as long as they will spend the afternoon writing that report," Rice says.
When it's nice out, be sure you have your co-worker's back. "Cover for a co-worker, and make sure you let them know they should be willing to do the same," Rice says.
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