Friday, 23 February 2018

Engaged or 'in here'?

There has been more media discussion this morning on the lingering issue of ‘presenteeism’ and its links – or lack thereof – to productivity.

It is amazing that we are still debating such issues. Commentators have been discussing the need for managers to look upon flexible working more favourably, rather than having to see the whites of someone’s eyes in order to manage them effectively. Haven’t we been having such debates for 20+ years? Why are we still floundering around the issue rather than identifying methods and models that make flexible working an accepted and effective element of the modern workplace?

If some leaders and managers are yet to be convinced, maybe they need to see more overt proof of the impact. So why aren’t the various bodies involved in these debates doing more to identify and share lessons from organisations who have really made flexibility work, for employer and employee? We need less discussion over ‘why’ and more focus on ‘how’ if we are going to move the debate on.  

As one commentator this morning has put it, in a knowledge-based economy, whether someone is physically at their desk is increasingly irrelevant. Nor is engagement location-specific. There is so much employers can do to build effective relationships with their people – and enhance productivity – whether or not those individuals are physically in front of them. We should be focusing on how to make that happen, not whether it should take place.