When Skype released its ‘Living Workplace‘ report a few months ago, it was no surprise to me and my coworkers that their first key finding was that “flexible and remote work environments have become commonly accepted and are important for hiring and productivity”.
Historically our offices and educational institutions have been built on an archaic system. They are modeled off of the interests and images of industrialization. Our work-space is organized with a production line mentality: batches, cubicles, time frames. We are filed in to a singular location from 9 to 5 with the expectation that productivity and innovation be achieved within those parameters.
But innovation strives in open environments where boundaries and interruptions are non-existent. No groundbreaking idea was birthed in a room of developers watching a Powerpoint presentation. No breakthrough emerged because your manager interrupted your train of thought to pull you into a meeting that you didn’t need to be a part of in the first place.
Last year, after obtaining my college degree, I needed to clear my mind and decided the best way to do that was to see the West Coast. M5 supported it with open arms. By valuing my need for a flexible and remote work environment, M5 allowed me to travel, and as a result, I was able to focus more of my time on my role in the company as Knowledge Manager. My productivity rose 80%, and in less than 9 months, I remotely trained 100+ employees, developed a training program for our Tier 1 support staff, and implemented and executed a public knowledge base for our 30,000+ end users. All of it was done through kitchen tables, coffee shops, and hammocks.
Before the end of my trip, my hard work paid off in the form of a promotion to our Marketing Department, where I am currently responsible for our Social Media initiatives and collaboration of future development of Content Management. Had M5 not valued its employee needs, I never would have had the time to shine like I did.
While telecommuting is not for every business (medicine, manufacturing, public safety), the need to adapt the approach to the workspace is necessary else you risk getting left behind in the dust of innovators.