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Measure your employees’ results, not their time

Sarah K. White | June 22, 2016
The future of work is in autonomy. If you keep a tight leash on your employees, your company will suffer in the long run.

Employees are more likely to take their laptops on vacation, Shapiro suggests, or to log on after hours to get work done, or even on the weekends. He says, thanks to technology, employees tend to act more like they're on call, rather than full time employees. They're simply more likely to take their laptops home, and work on the weekends or afterhours to finish up a project, which means employers need to take that into consideration if they are intent on measuring time over results.

Allowing your employees flexibility in their schedules -- whether that means working from home, flex hours or unlimited vacation time -- it will only serve to benefit the bottom line. In an American Psychological Association meta-analysis of 20 years of research, psychologists determined that telecommuting can have positive effects on the workplace. Giving employees this level of freedom improved worker satisfaction, and, in many cases, especially for women, it actually improved rather than hurt their overall career success.

The Gensler study found that giving employees a choice to work from home won't actually mean you'll never see an employee set foot in the office again. Employees who know they don't work well at home, typically won't, and those who find it a better experience will embrace the opportunity. The study showed that for respondents who had a choice to work from home, 70 percent still spent most of their time in the office.

"It has a positive effect on corporate culture. Employees know that you trust them, are not micromanaging them, and are providing them the flexibility to work from where they want, when they want, as long as they are delivering results," says Shapiro.

Decrease turnover

"Employees today are more mobile and less loyal than in the past. This makes sense as the employer to employee social contract has shifted," says Shapiro. The culture of work has evolved over the last few decades, shifting from a time when workers stayed with one company for their entire career to one where employees are more transient. But putting a leash on those workers isn't going to make them stay any longer, in fact, it might have the opposite effect.

A Cornell University study of 320 businesses showed that companies that give employees more freedom experienced a 30 percent lower turnover rate compared to businesses that didn't give workers much freedom. Companies that didn't allow for autonomy experienced higher rates of turnover, which can negatively affect profits as well as morale in the company. By giving employees a longer leash, they are less likely to have a wandering eye when it comes to their job. They might not stay forever, but you'll keep workers much longer if you embrace autonomy at work, according to the data.


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