Flex­i­ble work­ing boom­ing, but train­ing for re­mote man­agers is still lack­ing

Business Mirror - - OPINION - By Lars Wit­tig | Coun­try Man­ager, Re­gus Philip­pines

AS the de­mand for flex­i­ble work­ing in the Philip­pines con­tin­ues to in­crease, it is im­por­tant for man­agers to get with the times and en­sure they are max­i­miz­ing the po­ten­tial pro­duc­tiv­ity of both re­mote teams and fixed of­fice em­ploy­ees.

The lat­est re­search by Re­gus, can­vass­ing the opin­ions of over 44,000 se­nior man­agers and own­ers in busi­ness from more than 100 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the Philip­pines, has found that 79 per­cent of firms are shift­ing their fo­cus to mea­sur­ing em­ployee out­puts with re­sults-based as­sess­ments, rather than fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on time spent in the of­fice.

This sig­nals that re­mote work­ing is be­com­ing more and more cus­tom­ary, and that firms have no in­ter­est in re­ward­ing un­pro­duc­tive pre­sen­teeism. Clue­less re­mote man­agers, it would seem, who still mea­sure their work­ers on time spent in the of­fice are fast be­com­ing out­num­bered as this new ap­proach takes over. Also, while mea­sur­ing out­puts is clearly a much more suit­able method of gaug­ing re­mote worker per­for­mance, it is also a way for re­motely based man­agers to ef­fec­tively mea­sure their team’s pro­duc­tiv­ity wher­ever they are.

Re­mote work­ing in the Philip­pines has gained pop­u­lar­ity pri­mar­ily due to the wors­en­ing traf­fic con- di­tions in Metro Manila. Em­ploy­ees waste be­tween four and six hours a day just to travel to and from their of­fice. Re­mote work­ers are given the free­dom to max­i­mize their hours pro­duc­tively, with­out the added stress and costs of com­mut­ing.

The Re­gus re­search re­vealed that 76 per­cent of busi­ness­peo­ple glob­ally be­lieve that se­nior man­age­ment can ac­tu­ally be­come more pro­duc­tive if they are able to work flex­i­bly, while 63 per­cent man­age a re­mote worker at least part of the time. Some 61 per­cent of firms also use flex­i­ble work­ing as a way of at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing staff, high­light­ing the im­por­tant role that flex­i­ble work­ing has in boost­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and mo­ti­vat­ing or re­ward­ing tal­ented staff. With the ben­e­fits in­creas­ingly be­com­ing clear to both par­ties, it is no sur­prise that 54 per­cent of re­spon­dents re­vealed that com­pa­nies like theirs are look­ing to in­crease the amount of re­mote work­ers.

In spite of this, it is alarm­ing that less than half of firms, 43 per­cent, are

As Filipinos con­tinue to de­mand re­mote work­ing op­tions, busi­nesses in the Philip­pines need to in­vest in re­mote man­age­ment train­ing to en­sure that the tran­si­tion from fixed to mo­bile work force be­comes a smooth one. With the amount of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy at our fin­ger­tips, a pro­fes­sional and prop­erly equipped re­mote work lo­ca­tion should be seen as an ex­ten­sion of the work­place, not a ca­reer or pro­duc­tiv­ity-killer.

putting spe­cial train­ing in place for the man­age­ment of a re­mote work force. With more busi­nesses em­brac­ing flex­i­ble work­ing, im­ple­ment­ing suc­cess­ful re­mote man­age­ment pro­cesses is es­sen­tial to en­sur­ing top work­ers are rec­og­nized, nur­tured and de­vel­oped. Ex­celling in re­mote man­age­ment, un­sur­pris­ingly, plays an in­te­gral part in fos­ter­ing em­ployee re­la­tions, mo­ti­va­tion and loy­alty, yet too few firms are putting a strat­egy in place to help man­agers make their re­mote work­ers truly shine. Spe­cial train­ing for re­mote man­age­ment should be high on the agenda, or the risk is that per­for­mance may suf­fer.

As Filipinos con­tinue to de­mand re­mote work­ing op­tions, busi­nesses in the Philip­pines need to in­vest in re­mote man­age­ment train­ing to en­sure that the tran­si­tion from fixed to mo­bile work force be­comes a smooth one. With the amount of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy at our fin­ger­tips, a pro­fes­sional and prop­erly equipped re­mote work lo­ca­tion should be seen as an ex­ten­sion of the work­place, not a ca­reer or pro­duc­tiv­ity-killer.

The full ben­e­fits of flex­i­ble work­ing are un­likely to be reached, how­ever, if the lo­ca­tions of­fered in al­ter­na­tive to the main of­fice are not con­ducive to pro­duc­tiv­ity and are ill-equipped, noisy or dis­tract­ing, for ex­am­ple. Ad­di­tion­ally, em­ploy­ers should not as­sume that their re­mote staff would like to work from home. Most don’t want to en­croach on their home life, and work­ers are far more pro­duc­tive when work­ing from a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment, which is closer to home, along­side like-minded busi­ness­peo­ple. Be­ing in the same en­vi­ron­ment as other pro­fes­sion­als also helps elim­i­nate any po­ten­tial feel­ings of iso­la­tion or lone­li­ness.

Given the sig­nif­i­cant surge in flex­i­ble work­ing, it is pos­i­tive news that more and more firms are adapt­ing their per­for­mance anal­y­sis to mea­sur­ing real out­puts re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion. A ma­jor caveat for man­ager’s re­mains, how­ever: Firms need to in­vest in re­mote man­age­ment train­ing to get the best out of their work force.

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