So here’s the plan…
At Forfusion, we’ve been talking about flexible and remote working – smarter working principles, managing people remotely and leading when not physically present – for a long time. So have a lot of people.
Forfusion however puts this into practice perhaps more than most. And that’s why for my family holiday, where I’ll be spending a month in the south of France, I’m going to put this way of working to the test.
Essentially, my family, friends and dogs (Daisy and Marvin) will have to understand I’m experimenting with smarter working. I believe, if implemented correctly, a smarter working ethos is not just better for business, it’s better for society as a whole.
As we explored at our event: ‘What does Flexible Working mean for the North East?’, smarter, flexible working empowers individuals to choose when and where they conduct work related activities.
An integrated approach
This approach can foster trust, promote creative thinking and more importantly help employees integrate (not balance) their work and personal lives more effectively – improving their wellbeing. This flexibility usually makes them happier, healthier and more productive, something we’ve witnessed first-hand.
Obviously, Forfusion promotes and sells some of the technology that makes this ethos possible; however, it’s only half the equation. Implementing and refining a framework that suits flexible workers and encourages cultural change within the team is just as important.
I want to be able to work the hours of my choosing and from a location that works for me. For example, I’m very much a morning person, therefore tend to grapple with more complex work related issues at 5am when there are no distractions, but I respect that others in the team work in different ways and at different times.
There will be the obvious managerial challenges and of course issues with scheduling; however, every effort will be made to attend video conference calls that have already been planned; our Sales and Marketing weekly catch calls being a perfect example of this.
Stepping back to move forward
One of the things I’m looking forward to most, (other than sampling some of the fine wines and cheeses!) is spending more time on business strategy and completing tasks that are made difficult when facing day to day distractions in the office.
Here’s the rough routine I’ve planned:
- 06:00 (05:00 UK) - Quick swim, breakfast and coffee
- 06:45 (05:45 UK) - Four hours work, available via audio, video and instant messaging (planned strategic works)
- 10:45 (09:45 UK) - Out with dogs for a walk or run (perhaps call into a café)
- 13:00 (12:00 UK) - Holiday time (unavailable)
- 18:00 (17:00 UK) - One hour work, available via audio, video and instant messaging (catch up activities and planning)
- 19:00 (18:00 UK) - Holiday time (unavailable)
The plan is to work four to five hours on a typical ‘split’ day; however, there will be days that I make myself completely available, or unavailable, which will likely be influenced by visits from family and friends, weather conditions and work emergencies.
Work/life integration will be one issue but so will physical absence from the office. Team management and engagement may present a challenge, especially if important decisions need to be made during times that I’m not available; something that will need to be managed very carefully.
I plan to make myself available at specific times and also to delineate periods for family and friends (and dogs); how my family will react to this is another matter!
Nonetheless, I believe I will relish the challenge, as I’m incredibly interested in developing smarter working methods, identifying cultural boundaries and exploiting collaboration tools we have at our disposal.
I start my journey on May 20th and I’m very excited for an overdue (working) holiday!
Read about Steven's experience in his follow up article, 'Forfusion's CEO takes Smarter Working on Holiday'.