Business is undergoing rapid changes due to several different factors. Technological advancement and globalization are changing the way we do business, as are the changing values of the millennial generation. Over the last couple of years, I’ve implemented many changes in my own business in response to these larger trends. In the process I’ve learned quite a bit, not only about what does and doesn’t work, but also how to navigate some of the challenges of introducing these changes in the workplace.
Flexible Work Schedules
By now it’s well-known that many businesses, especially those run by younger people, are abandoning the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule. In an age where people can communicate instantly via smartphone, Skype and various online messaging programs and share files using platforms such as Dropbox, there’s no longer a need for everyone to be physically present in an office for a fixed number of hours.
This is an example of the type of change that, intuitive as it is, can still be challenging to implement. My own business began with a mostly traditional work schedule: we didn’t necessarily have a 40-hour work week, but employees were expected to complete most of their tasks in the office. This is simply the way most people still expect a workplace to function. Even millennials who grew up with the Internet most likely took business classes in college, watched movies that portrayed traditional offices and perhaps visited parents and other relatives at work. For these reasons, there are still cultural expectations about work that will take time to change.
In many cases, I’ve found it’s simply more efficient for everyone for employees to work from home or on the road, checking in whenever necessary. But making this transition was not exactly seamless — it’s essential to set some firm ground rules about being accountable and reporting back to the office regularly.
Yan Revzin is the Co-Founder of Fortune Cookie Advertising, a non-traditional and out-of-home media placement company selling advertising space within fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants throughout the United States.
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