Telecommuting: Your New Old Workplace Benefit?

As we talked about last week, business is becoming increasingly mobile. Employers and employees are considering options to take business on the go, and one such option that is becoming increasingly desirable is telecommuting. In fact, not only is telecommuting just an option, but increasingly viewed as a benefit.

Telecommuting: Benefiting Staples Employees

Recently, Staples undertook their annual telecommuting survey that showed a whopping 71% of telecommuters listed the mobility of their job as a critical benefit. Even 10% of those surveyed would opt for a pay decrease in order to telecommute. As we can see, telecommuting is highly desirable, but how does a company as a whole fare when employees are offsite?

Telecommuting Makes Employees Happy

As an outcome of telecommuting, employers are noticing significant increases in employee demeanor. Employees are often happier, which has led to a statistical increase in productivity. Which, I am not quite sure why this surprises people, the happier- equals -production notion should be a no-brainer. Much of the workforce is spreading themselves thinner than ever, so as employers there needs to be a shift in flexibility. The age old 9-5 routine simply cannot work for everyone. So, how do employers make this a viable option and how do employees approach this topic with management?

Telecommuting: An Extension of BYOD

As an employer, thankfully, the products we touched on last week can have you cleaning out office space in no time as communication and accessibility can take place online. Again, options like Trello and UberConference replicate physical communication when time or circumstance don't allow for any. Another idea that has been sweeping the working world is allowing for BYOD (bring your own device). As it stands, about 4 out 5 employees use their personal devices for work-related tasks, so why not take that to the next level? We think it's safe to say that all of us have used our smartphones or tablets to churn out work emails, scope LinkedIn resumes, or follow the news on Twitter. We as people like the familiar, and if we have to choose between our own preferred devices versus a dull work device, we'd be willing to take a wild guess and assume we would all prefer utilizing our own personal gadgets. Not only are we familiar with these systems, but there's a sense of freedom when we break away from corporate control which also leads to greater creativity and ultimately, productivity. Not to mention, this hard drive follows its owner any and everywhere. While there are some issues such as compatibility and privacy, it's worth looking into in order to catch opulent talent, requiring telecommuting.

As old school as some of us are, times they are a-changin', and they're leaving us no choice but to follow the current. The world of HR is constantly changing from virtual recruitment to heightened compliance initiatives. Stay tuned for next week's blog as we continue to keep you up-to-speed on today's HR issues.

Source: HR Morning

More to read: New York Times Forbes

Mobile Workforce: The 6 Most Effective Apps to Mobilize Your Workforce

mobile workforce woman cafeAs it's been not so gently massaged into our brains, mobile workforce strategies are the here-and-now way to brand your business, recruit, and telecommute. However, let's face it, most companies want their employees on-site to better communicate and collaborate to perform their tasks (a la Yahoo). Unfortunately, there's this thing called life that sometimes get in the way and we can't always occupy our usual fluorescently-lit cubicle each day. Instead of taking a personal day, what if there was a way to convince your boss or staff that working from home or remotely was just as effective as making a physical appearance in the office?

A Study on Mobile Workforce Apps

Hootsuite did a comparison of a large list of different mobile apps, and came up with their top 7 favorites. After doing some independent research and taking into account our own bias due to utilizing most of these products in the office, we decided to just hop on the bandwagon instead of trailblazing this topic. Below is the list of 6 top-rated apps for you busy bees out there in desperate need of organizing your mobile workforce, or just your own work life.

Evernote: Evernote is like the chest at the foot of your bed. It can store everything: from notes, to pictures, voice recordings, and practically any digital memorandum can be saved in Evernote, accessed by multiple users or even offline. Using tags and notebooks, everything is searchable and easily for later usage.

Hootsuite: In layman's terms, it simply manages all of your social media networks, allowing you to post (now, or schedule for later) to all your media sites simultaneously on one platform. While this alone may not sound compelling, their capacity to track your social media efforts is surely a deciding factor.

UberConference: In the past, meetings and conferences required physical presence, but UberConference makes that a thing of the past. UberConference uses your phone's contact list as a way to select attendees, and the software emails, calls, or texts the attendees to accept the meeting. Everyone is displayed onscreen, so you get the physical presence, remotely. Need we say more?

Trello: If you're a fan of Scrum and the Agile methodology, you need Trello. With this organizational software, visually show tasks on a digital board; assign team members, deadlines, and priority levels to specific tasks; show progress and communicate with Trello members to perform tasks more efficiently.

Dropbox: All of your files. In the cloud. And you can access them offline via multiple devices. Your hard drive is literally able to go wherever you go.

Brewster: Think of your smartphone's address book where contact information from your social media merges. Instead of banging your head against the wall after you left your client's contact information at work, rely on Brewster. It merges your contacts onto a single platform, pulling information from social media, email, and your personal address book. Finally, you don't need to drag every device and notepad with you when you want to telecommute.

With these helpful mobile apps, telecommuting can slowly lose the negative connotation that it's been plagued with for so long. Finally, we live in an age where the mobile workforce is attainable. Stay tuned for next week where we continue our “mobile-first focus” and discuss recruiting based on your telecommuting policies.

2 Tips On Helping Multi-Generational Teams Succeed

"How do I make my multi-generational teams mesh and become brilliantly productive?"

While there are certain steps you can take and books you can read divulging the seemingly all-powerful truth to this question, we find it harder now, more than ever, with vastly different generational mindsets. That being said, no, there isn't a simple one-size–fits-all solution to multi-generational teams. Rather, what if we dissect each generation's mentality and strategize about how to communicate with each group, allowing them to communicate internally with one another? If you can lasso the strengths of each generation and enable effective communication between these groups, your multi-generational teams will be unstoppable.

Multi-Generational Teams Broken Down

Essentially, the workforce consists of four different generational groups: Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X, and the infamous Millennials.

Traditionalists value hard work on top of everything. While seemingly inflexible, Traditionalists base decision on vast experience, often confused with inflexibility. The value of respect for authority is another high priority item.

Boomers feel a deep sense of desired value and need that Boomers derive from work. They are loyal but disengage with the lack of recognition or acknowledgement. Respect is still highly valued in the eyes of Boomers.

Gen X is quite pragmatic and skeptical of authority. Often referred to as the silent generation, they are easily disengaged, pessimistic, and quick to toss in the towel if their contributions are unvalued or they feel gipped. This group desires space and their own terms to trust authority.

Millennials demand immediate gratification. Immediate ladder climbing is almost a birthright. They questions everything and feel a sense of right to be included, looked up to, and heard, regardless of the topic of conversation. Work ethic is often some term not fully comprehended by this generation.

With such radical differences, as employers, how do you reach each group simultaneously?

There is Hope for Multi-Generational Teams

Here are a couple of solutions:

  • Acknowledge the commonalities that we all share. We all desire to be needed, to learn, to grow and move forward, and to receive feedback. We desire these things frequently, so often addressing these needs will go far with each generation.
  • Use each group's strength to bond the team. Use Boomers optimism to rally the support. Use a healthy dose of skepticism from Gen X to question ideas and new products, and so on. Each group has valuable mentalities that should be brought to the table in any brainstorming, strategizing, or planning sessions. In doing this, there is value that each generation feels and appreciates.

We are all different, but as an employer, it's important to recognize the similarities and strengths of each generation in order to fulfill their needs and provide a place where each generation is valued and can work together. This may require time, energy, and a few tries, but the rewards of functioning multi-generational teams is well worth the organizational changes you may have to make. So, will you risk change to achieve optimal performance? I think we know what the answer is…

Source: Forbes Leadership