Most of us wake up in the morning, curse at the alarm clock, and punch the clock in an effort to make money. Money, then, is the ultimate goal of employment, right?
Of course not. Nobody works simply to have more money. They work so that they can have what money buys. Money is simply a currency that can buy
happiness comfort. What you really want is the food, clothing, shelter, or entertainment that money can buy. Even Scrooge McDuck only wants money for the pleasure of swimming in it.
Today’s article is geared toward employers and focuses on what employees value in terms of non-financial aspects of a job.
I work for one of the largest financial services companies in the country. Twelve years ago, I asked for the ability to change locations from corporate headquarters to a smaller office closer to family. I am still in the same role, and all my team members are back at corporate headquarters, but I work remotely from a satellite office that houses about a dozen people. I’m perhaps even more productive as a result, because I don’t have to walk to meetings, but can attend via audio conference. My company’s Systems department has about 5000 people located at corporate headquarters, so a non-trivial amount of time can be spent walking to meetings in other parts of the complex. Many people can work effectively from any location that has high speed internet.
Flexibility in the work
If your employees find the work they are doing interesting, they will likely be more productive. It’s still work, and it’s not always possible to align people with work they find interesting – and sometimes a person’s interest don’t match up well with their actual skills. This is why I’m not currently the cleanup hitter for the Colorado Rockies – I have a great deal of interest, but lack “some” of the necessary skills.
However, if Amy and Bob both dislike the work they are doing and are interested in the work the other person is doing, it may be beneficial to have Amy and Bob switch roles. An added benefit is that Amy and Bob can now back each other up when one of them is absent.
People in my department also have time flexibility. Some people start at 5 AM, some people work 6 PM, and some people work four day weeks. There’s a core set of hours for which people are expected to be available (and may of us are on call during off-hours), and a specific team should ensure adequate coverage to handle any issues that arrive. However, the teams have a lot of autonomy in deciding who works which hours.
Clothes make the man
Just before I joined the company, corporate employees had to wear a suit and tie every day. That was changed to business casual – Dockers and a nice shirt. About five years ago, the dress code was relaxed even further. Jeans, t-shirts, and running shoes were now perfectly acceptable, as long as they were clean and in good condition. When meeting with customers or other outside entities, business casual would still be required. However, if you’re an IT geek buried in a cubicle all day (yep, that’s me), then Wranglers, rainbow Asics, and a T-Rex t-shirt was now acceptable work attire. I nearly cried the day the announcement was made. I’m much happier – and much more productive – in casual clothes.
The key takeaway is that you’ll still expect the same work product from the employee. However, you’ll be giving the employee more control over their evironment