Supporting Flexible Work Habits

Posted in management by Christopher R. Wirz on Tue Jan 05 2016

Technical teams are likely to have individuals who have their own unique way of doing things. This is because technical people are often highly creative - a trait that makes them able to solve complex business problems. A leader of a technical team who must encourage that creativity can encourage it by enabling flexible work habits. While also providing a focus on business objectives, a leader can get the most out of a technical team.

The easiest way to provide flexible work habits is to start with flexible work hours. Allow team members to start later and work later, or start earlier and finish earlier, according to their own personal preferences. There may have to be core hours as to not disrupt team goals. However, technical team members may provide off-hours support for emergency or overnight support - which can be balanced by flexible work hours.

With flexible hours, flexible office layouts help the team work effectively. Some people need absolute silence while others enjoy being close to the team. Usually the workspace is configured to support both, but not to go all the way to the extremes. For example, employees often use headsets to establish a sense of space. Additionally, some people like sit-stand desks. Furniture is often less expensive compared to items like laptops - and it improves ergonomics.

Flexible work environments usually have a less conservative dress code. This lets people express themselves with clothing. For example, many technical teams do not require its members to wear ties. The dress code should still be practical for the task. If the task is performed at a specialty location - such as a shop - or at a customer site, the dress code must be practical for the occasion. People need to be given the flexibility to adapt to their surroundings.

Flexible teams focus on what has to be done more than how something is done. This involves allowing people to use their own work style to generate results. Performance is measured based on results and not style.

A technical leader must promote creative talent and inspire collaboration throughout the team - and make decisions when required. Often, technical teams can come up with rules of operation the fit within the business rules and produce results. This strikes a balance between conformance and performance. It is important not to give any employees preference over another. Allowances need to be objective and meet corporate standards - as well as consistent and aligned to business goals. This allows the team to commit to success and not lose focus.

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