Archive for August, 2012

Innovate your workplace

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Solve your employee’s #1 cause of stress! © Roger La Salle

The Changing paradigm

Any reader is familiar with the TV series hit “The Office” (English version, please) would notice people crouched over computer screens doing who knows what, but all very engaged.

In fact if you walk into almost any office today, the places where city commuters most often work, you will find precisely the same scene. People privately engaged in their work whilst crouched over a computer. Indeed so prevalent is this activity that we are being warned about the perils of continuous close focused vision, keyboard RSI and lack of exercise just to mention a few.

Given this is working life for so many these days, let’s turn that into an opportunity.

“Innovate” your workplace to reap multiple benefits

Many “birds can be killed” with this one stone if we embrace change:

1. Productivity improvement
2. Traffic congestion and the huge expense of building new road infrastructure
3. A real use for the NBN – more than just home movies
4. Green house emission reductions
5. Cost of living in travel time and cost

Can you foresee these huge gains if most people did not have to travel to an office everyday to do their jobs?

Do we need to have staff present?

Social interaction in the workplace has huge benefits, both for the well being of workers, the cross pollination of ideas and the building of a team environment.

However, in most cases there is absolutely no need for people to attend an office every day. Perhaps one day per week would be sufficient to allow for social interaction and general catch up.

Numerous studies have been undertaken on the subject of home workers, or so called “telecommuters” and most show the cost benefits in productivity and reduced cost of employment in many ways, including office space, energy, consumables and many other almost hidden on-costs. For the worker there are also huge benefits.

A study in the USA found that the total number of US telecommuters (one day per month at home) grew from some 17 million in 2001 to almost 30 million by 2008. It is clear that there is a growing trend towards this sensible alternative to full office based work.

Data By The Dieringer Research Group Inc. February 2009

Envisage the future

For sceptics that think this may not work, just image a computer with a screen that showed every member of your team as a screen shot, perhaps an overhead view of the office environment. To meet or speak with any member simply click on the image, to engage with a group, simply click on the people required and all come to each other as virtual 3D interactive images with high quality audio; a virtual office.

In such a high definition virtual environment there is little difference from having staff physically present. In fact to meet or speak with a team member in such an environment would be easier and faster than getting up from your desk and walking to their office based workstation.

What is required to achieve this utopia?

1. An acceptance of the worker to take on the liability of providing their own safe workplace
2. High speed two way internet connectivity
3. Suitable KPI’s that can be used to measure the performance of home workers
4. IT infrastructure at the office and workers home
5. Mutual trust between management and staff.

The potential benefits are profound

The benefits are huge and can lead to much higher productivity and reduced worker stress in travel to and from work. Indeed when surveyed in the USA many workers cited the stress of travelling to and from work as their biggest concern.

Perhaps it may even be possible to ask staff to put in an extra 30 to 60 minutes a day if you remove the normal one to two hours commuting time, not to mention the cost.

Where to from here?

Perhaps now is the time with traffic snarls on the increase to the point of frustration, public transport running at capacity and real productivity falling?

Embrace this new paradigm and reap the benefits. Start off slowly and track the results.

**** END ****

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms.

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