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These days, most knowledge workers already perform plenty of their work away from the office. Even in situations where telework and workplace mobility are not officially sanctioned, it’s pretty routine for most knowledge workers to check email, to host virtual meetings or to finish a presentation from home.

A study shows that “51% of people who work from home said they suffer from work-related injuries, including aches and pains, neck and back problems and sustained injuries.”
Bupa UK.

But how prepared are these individuals for working effectively away from the office? Even if your program has been launched and supported distributed work policies and technology, how well are team members actually prepared for the remote work experience? Are they keeping proprietary data safe and preventing hack attacks?

Preparing team members for remote work can make a huge difference

Working in a distributed team requires unique skills and routines to remain connected, to effectively communicate and collaborate with others, and to maintain a reputation as a contributing member of the team. Essential to their success is earning the trust and reputation as a consistent team contributor no matter where they work.

–You can either prepare the workforce by replacing unwanted workplace behaviors, or you can allow remote work to amplify them.–

If you are developing a distributed work program, you’ve only got one chance to do it right. To be fully successful, every participating distributed worker must be prepared by learning and accepting the program rules, improving their skills as a collaborating mobile member of the team, and knowing what it will take to become an active, contributing member of their distributed work community.

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Working in Distributed Teams course outline.

The post Are your employees really prepared to work away from the office? appeared first on e-work.com.

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Moving to a new location or remodeled facility is a huge deal for every team member involved. They’ll all be excited about the new features, amenities, new furniture, technology…and you know they can’t wait for the big move day.

It’s easy to imagine the kinds of questions every employee will have about the new workplace and the move:

“What will the new office look like?”

“Where will I park my car?”

“Will my current security badge work?”

“Will my teammates be nearby?”

“Where is the cafeteria and how do I get there?”

You could answer these questions with an email or even a web page, but will users absorb the information…or even look at it? Shouldn’t you be asking: “How will we REALLY prepare everyone for one of the most important events in organization history?”

Push a pre-move orientation to every mobile device

Technology is now available to push an interactive, detailed stream of essential move information with visuals and answers to these and many other questions. Wouldn’t it be great to provide everyone the same workplace preview, messaging, visuals, the move process timing, and the phased plan just before they move? Of course no-one will remember all the details after one exposure, so why not provide this information well after the move for quick checks and refreshers?

Having a sneak-preview of a workplace you haven’t been before can make all the difference in the world. Properly developed and produced, your quick learn orientation will effectively set many expectations, will ensure a positive first impression, and can provide ongoing reminders and support until the new workplace becomes the new normal.

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Making the Move to Your New Workplace course outline.

The post Moving? Why not push a pre-move orientation to every mobile device? appeared first on e-work.com.

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Of all the items on your enterprise priority list, who would ever think of taking the time to train team members with negotiation skills?

The truth is, nearly everything we do involves negotiation. If it involves people, it involves negotiation. And, with today’s technology, good negotiation skills are essential whether you are face-to-face with a coworker, on a video conference with your project team, or exchanging IMs with a traveling colleague from across the globe. 

Why negotiation skills are important to the enterprise

Did you know that small adjustments in posture, attitude and positioning can make a huge difference in the outcome of your conversations? Practicing a few simple negotiating techniques can impact the decisions people make every day.

When applied widely through the organization, negotiation skills can improve enterprise efficiency, performance, engagement, and even profitability. Applying negotiation skills through appropriate training, practice and reinforcement can be one of those invaluable, essential work force synergy tools that give an enterprise a competitive edge.

“As every company becomes digital, it’s going to change your leadership style, the skill sets you need, and how you work with teams.”
John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco Systems

Who would ever think of making negotiation a priority employee skill? Those leaders who wish to take their organization to the next level, that’s who.

Because talented negotiators typically exhibit superior interpersonal skills, powers of persuasion, and problem solving, resulting in reducing conflicts, improved team collaboration, and relationships building, perhaps upgrading your teams with negotiation skills should be given a serious look!

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Negotiation Skills in the Workplace course outline.

The post Why care about improving enterprise negotiation skills? appeared first on e-work.com.

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Have you just opened or are planning a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) building? No doubt you and your planning team just can’t wait to see it all come together…and no doubt that executive leadership has high expectations for the return on their LEED investment. You can do that by influencing occupant sustainability behaviors.

With the disruption of the move to the new workplace, you can imagine things like recycling a coffee cup, details of the gray water system and conserving energy won’t exactly be top-of-mind for occupants…that is unless you do something about it!

Occupant actions could have a significant impact on LEED results

Did you know that the behaviors of occupants can influence the sustainable results achieved by 30% or more? What’s your plan convince the building occupants to appreciate and actually take advantage of the sustainable features?

Consider these four ways you can spark sustainable participation of building occupants in order to maximize your LEED investment:

1. Discovering details on the building design and sustainability features. Most people are naturally drawn to conservation, so tell them so they can be proud to be a part of it.
2. Getting jazzed about working in a sustainable environment. The more they know about automates thermal systems, special acoustics, low energy lighting, green purchasing, and personal controls, the more they’ll be prone to own it.
3. Learning the impact that simple daily actions will have in achieving energy and water conservation, recycling and waste management, and setting sustainable commuting goals. Go out of your way to demonstrate the systems in the first few days to prime their sustainable actions to make them permanent habits.
4. Emphasize the contribution each occupant can make in sustainability through workplace stewardship by practicing life-cycle decision making, following policies for retiring equipment, selecting service providers, and other key actions important to system success.

There’s little doubt about the value of driving the sustainable behaviors of building occupants and visitors. To do that, you’ll need to make sustainable behaviors a bigger part of everyone’s daily routine. With a bit of education, simple guidance, incentivized encouragement and peer recognition, the behaviors of your LEED building occupants and visitors could result in a substantial return on your sustainability program investment.

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways. course outline.

Register to see the Practicing Sustainable Behaviors in a LEED Building course outline.

The post Four ways occupants can help achieve your LEED ROI appeared first on e-work.com.

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Through the years, we’ve all survived life-altering milestones: transitioning to high school, moving out on our own, changing jobs, moving to a new city. To some, these experiences may have been quite positive, but to others, the going through these same life changes may have been outright frightening.

To some, transitioning to an activities-based work environment – where team members’ personal desk is replaced by a functional workspace they use temporarily – is a radical departure from a traditional work environment. Before the move, those affected will have plenty of concerns about what it will be like “on the other side.” To some team members, the thought of giving up their desk could conjure up some those frightening, familiar fears of past life-altering milestones.

Answering questions before they are asked

Realizing that making this transition will require radical new ways of working, what if you could reduce those fears by helping team members clearly visualize details of the new experience before they move? Consider how useful it would be to set expectations on the new workplace by providing everyone with answers to these questions before they moved:

  • Why are we making all these changes and what will I get out of it?
  • What’s it going to be like to work in this new workplace?
  • What are the different new workspace types and their functionalities?
  • How will I select and reserve a space?
  • Where will I put all my ‘stuff’?
  • What are the protocols for working in these new workspaces?
  • What support services are available and how will I access them?
  • How will I use the new furniture and equipment?
Before your first visit, how useful would a pre-move visual preview be?

What if everyone could clearly visualize details of the new experience before the move? Imagine how different the experience would be if all employees – whether there are 200 or 20,000 – were to receive a 10-to-15-minute orientation with a visual preview on exactly how everything is going to be before they got there. Imagine how valuable it will be for each team member to have the same set of instructions at the same time on how to act in certain situations, and how to access and use everything they’ll routinely need in the new environment.

–How important is it to show team members how to use their new work environment before they get there?  Do you really want them to make it up as they go?–

When individuals are able to quickly learn their way around and adapt to how work is now done, teams tend to simultaneously learn from each other and begin adjusting to their new workplace more quickly, and the new normal arrives before you know it.

And those life-altering event fear factors? If you do this right, you will see it dwindle down to moderate anxiety, and after the move, everyone will go right back to work.

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Exploring Workspace Types and Functionality course outline.

The post Easing the trauma transitioning to an activity-based workplace appeared first on e-work.com.

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Employees working from home, also known as teleworking, is a common workplace option practiced around the world. If you are launching a work-from-home program, you can probably imagine the many ways that individuals will react once they’ve learned they might be able to work from home.

“Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce said they would like to telework at least part of the week.”
Global Workplace Analytics

Upon hearing the news, hopeful teleworkers may be thinking:

  • Great! No more meetings!
  • How will I keep from being distracted at home?
  • I can finally cut back on child care expenses.
  • How will I keep my kids out of the office?
  • Won’t it be great to sleep in late?
  • If I’m away from the office, won’t I miss out on opportunities for advancement?

These aren’t exactly the kinds of reactions you may have expected to hear, but if you don’t provide information on the program purpose, objectives and guidelines, some may jump to their own incorrect conclusions. Program planners must be prepared to provide answers to these and many more questions in advance by following these four program development steps.

1. Establish the rules:
A policy is essential for the success of any home-based work activity. A policy defines who qualifies, how frequently they will work at home, expectations for separating work and family, guidelines on expenses that can be incurred, what equipment and services will be needed, and the conditions under which the telework privilege can be revoked.

2. Set the expectations:
If you don’t establish home-based working environment expectations, they will make likely it up. An individual with a home office should know and acknowledge they will be responsible to their manager for work accountability, productivity, professionalism, health, safety, & security, avoiding distractions, and separating work from family life.

3. Reduce the risks:
Working from home can introduce risks including injuries, theft, safety, security, overwork, data breaches, low performance, and more. The organization must provide each individual and their manager with the guidance, tools and processes to ensure risk reduction, plus remedies, procedures and reporting requirements for incidents.

4. Maximize home worker performance:
For a variety of reasons, worker performance can improve significantly in a remote work environment. Some managers discover the need to update their management skills, for instance, ensuring that team members are more accountable by measuring performance by work output instead of measuring ‘desk time.’ Mobile team members – and non-mobile team members – should be asked to track and communicate their work activities, milestones and accomplishments to make sure their manager is regularly up to date.

A work-form-home can be both complicated and rewarding

Allowing team members to work from home can be complicated as it has many moving parts. However, in this time of competitive recruiting for top talent, a telework option is known to be one of the first options candidates look for in making their decision to join an organization.

If you are part of the work-from-home planning team developing a new program, you’ve got only one chance to do this right. By setting the rules, establishing expectations, reducing risks and maximizing accountability and performance, the investment in your program will pay off for many years to come.

In fact, you’ll find that once your well designed telework program has been in place for a couple of years, working at home becomes so rewarding that you’ll wonder why you hadn’t launched it years earlier!

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Creating a High-Performing Home Office course outline.

The post Four essential steps to launching a winning work-from-home program appeared first on e-work.com.

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So, you’ve made the decision to launch a flexibility program. Congratulations!

You are not alone. Enterprise flexibility has reached a tipping point among employers of all sizes.

“87% of HR leaders believe that workplace flexibility programs lead to employee satisfaction, while nearly 7 out of 10 leaders use workplace flexibility programs as a recruiting tool.”
The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study

After you’ve invested in your plan, policies, and procedures, and you’ve got the budget and the “GO” sign, what’s your plan for introducing it to the enterprise? How will you gain support for the program? How will you get it to become the new normal?

To maximize your program potential, consider these four program steps for success:

1. Socialize the program with managers first:
Sequencing the announcement is critical. Since managers will be responsible for selecting and managing flex participants — and ultimately for program results — they’ll need to be the first to know how it works. Each manager will find considerable value in seeing the business case for flexibility, the details of the policy, the program strategy, objectives, and how to select participants. Then, it’s good practice to reinforce the process, neutralize misconceptions, and get all the issues on the table by gathering managers in small groups. Every manager ought to be equipped with the essential knowledge, tools, and confidence before they receive the first flex application.

2. Announce the program and invite team members to apply:
There won’t likely be a shortage of employees interested in flexibility. However, it must be made clear from the beginning that program participation is not automatic. Early messaging could provide general parameters and criteria for participation. Then, provide all those who wish to participate with a program overview, guidelines, a readiness assessment, and tips on discussing flex with their manager and submitting an application.

“What are the biggest concerns for employers who establish flexibility programs?
•  Potential for the employee to abuse the system: 42%
•  Flexibility not being part of their culture: 40%
•  Concerns about employee fairness: 34%
The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study

3. Celebrate post-launch success stories:
After launching any organizational change process, it’s easy for bad news to dominate discussions among the ranks, magnifying isolated issues and complaints. You can head this off early by identifying and publicizing examples of flex success – each work group is bound to have two or three. Humanizing the value and benefits of flexibility will shift the conversation and help others recognize how flex might work for them.

4. Measure program results and make adjustments:
To determine whether the program is a success, you will need some evidence. The obvious place to begin is to make a plan to measure the changes in the areas you had intended flexibility to affect. Take a baseline survey before launch, then after the first six months or so, repeat the survey to compare employee stress, productivity, engagement, customer focus, and other criteria with pre-launch baseline data. Over time, changes in wellness, real estate, disaster planning preparedness, sustainability, and other strategic elements will prove this was a good business decision.

There’s no doubt that workplace flexibility can be disruptive.

With proper planning and and a thoughtful strategy, you have much more control over the type of disruption your program will generate. With a deliberate plan and effective execution, workplace flexibility can quickly become accepted and adopted as a new normal way to work faster than you think, generating plenty of positive, measurable benefits.

We expect someday you’ll look back and be glad you used these four steps to drive flexibility as the new enterprise norm. We hope you’re reach out and let us know!

See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways. course outline.

Register to see the Flex Fundamentals for Managers course outline or the Flexibille Worker Training course outline.

The post Four essential steps to flex program success appeared first on e-work.com.

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Whether you are setting up shared workspaces, initiating flexible work arrangements, or launching a telework program, each have a lot of moving parts and can be challenging. Chances are pretty good you’ve discovered that some managers in your organization are resistive to these changes, and some might even be outright against it.

–Don’t be surprised if you find the ‘people part’ of the new workplace more challenging than the ‘technology part.’–

As you begin mapping out your strategy for workplace change, one of the most important changes you’ll make is turning manager resistance into active support. Consider these ideas for doing that:

  • Define it: Is it possible that many managers’ ideas on how the new workplace will work are based on misconceptions and unfounded opinions? Yes. So, your very first task is to clearly define the new workplace, describe the controls that will be in place, and be clear on the value it will bring to the organization.
  • Ground it: Recruit an executive champion to become the lightning rod for driving the program forward. When the new workplace has undeniable management support, budget and priority, the path to manager buy-in will be a straight line.
  • Confine it: A primary fear of the unenlightened manager is the grief they’ll get after advising a marginal employee they’re not going to be working away from the office. Establishing specific participation criteria – such as performance minimums – changes those dynamics. On the positive side, there’s nothing like a telework option to motivate improved performance.
  • Benign it: Unenlightened managers will conjure up all kinds of reasons this won’t work. Find out what’s on their minds, then address all the issues in a gathering. Very often issues can be neutralized by getting objections on the table and discussing in front of peers.
  • Design it: Under the direction of your workplace program team, provide managers the tools and direction to review their current practices, then provide guidance for updating their team communications plan and updating their work and project activity tracking process.
  • Refine it: Providing managers with tools, tips and process for creating continuous coachable moments will go a long way. Help them build a high-performing team by updating team communication, collaboration and accountability. After launch, use survey and focus group feedback for fine tuning the process.
  • Combine it: Workplace change affects so many aspects of the workplace, there are likely ample opportunities to combine distributed work with other strategic initiatives. Some might include updating leadership skills, ergonomics reform, technology upgrades, using new collaboration tools, updating virtual meeting skills, etc.
  • Bottom line it: Show managers how they play an integral role in ensuring a rapid, efficient, and effective transition into the technology-enabled workplace. Provide them with feedback, support and public recognition for positive results.
Resistance to change by managers does not need to be a game-ender

As you begin planning for your program for shared workspaces, flexible work arrangements or telework, focus on bringing the managers on board. Prepare them for the experience by providing them with the tools for success, and showing them the many ways they’ll benefit from the program.

With a concerted effort and a bit of finesse, you might be delighted to see resistance to change suddenly morph into enthusiastic support!

___________________________________________

See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Managing Distributed Teams course outline.

The post Are your managers resisting workplace change? appeared first on e-work.com.

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Distributed work programs – which include activity-based work arrangements, remote work centers, coworking, teleworking and home agents – are reaching a tipping point among employers world-wide. It is becoming quite common for organizations to adopt workplace practices that allow team members the flexibility to work anywhere, any time.

Are your managers a primary source of internal change resistance?

In the planning of a distributed work program, you may find that today’s organizational habits, traditions, work patterns and even daily routines are incompatible with the new workplace. How will you know? If after you announce your distributed work program, questions from managers like these will offer ample evidence:

“How will I manage people I don’t see?” This signals the need for a management skills upgrade and accountability process overhaul.

“How can I call a meeting if everyone is away?” This suggests there may be a need to re-think current meeting effectiveness, and perhaps even shift some meetings to virtual.

“If my team is always away from the office, how will they collaborate?” First, the typical teleworker works away once or twice a week. Second, emerging collaboration tools bring teams closer digitally, so collaboration is brought to a whole new level.

“How will I tell a poor performer they cannot participate?” Poor performers should already know they won’t likely participate before they ask. Smart managers use this opportunity to reward improved performance with mobile work.

–You can think of workplace change as disruptive, or you can leverage it to stimulate engagement, productivity, accountability and collaboration. It’s your choice.–

The fact is, managing in a high-performing distributed workplace requires skills, processes and routines that should already be in place. A management skills makeover may become among the many unexpected benefits of your workplace change program, resulting in improved leadership, accountability, team-building, relationships and engagement.

Preparing your managers for change is essential for program success

As the pace of technology-induced workplace change quickens, preparing your managers is essential for an efficient, orderly enterprise transition to ‘the other side.’  Successful organizations use quality training to bring worker and manager skills up to date simultaneously with knowledge, tips and tools designed successfully transition teams to the distributed work environment.

Are you ready to leverage a little disruption?

___________________________________________

See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Managing Distributed Teams course outline.

The post Workplace change won’t happen without properly prepared managers appeared first on e-work.com.

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If you’ve walked through your office lately and noticed all the empty desks, you’ve started to realize that technology is enabling worker mobility whether it is officially sanctioned it or not. Wi-Fi, instant messaging, social media and mega-collaboration tools on mobile devices are all forcing organizations to catch up with their mobile workforce. If there’s any situation where the ‘herding cats’ metaphor works, this is it.

–There’s little sense in waiting for things to get back to normal, because normal is gone forever.–

Mobility is radically beneficial when it’s done correctly. Becoming more mobile can definitely maximize an individual’s potential, but an ill-prepared newbie or a seasoned veteran can both find themselves at a work stand-still with the wrong cord, a missing file, a dead battery, or a hack attack at the airport. As mobility increases in your enterprise, are you thinking about how mobile workers will consistently manage accessibility and connectivity, protecting access to data, and maintaining health, well-being and productivity away from the office?

Prepared team members keep their work flowing wherever they are

Enterprise-wide adoption of mobility best practices is essential for herding your mobile workforce. It ensures that mobile employees are equipped with essential knowledge, tools and support to work efficiently in a mobile environment. Preparing employees for the many different places, situations, conditions and obstacles they’ll be facing is essential.

As you prepare to launch mobile team members at scale, you’ll need to empower them all to follow the same four essential mobility best practices:

1. Practicing methods for staying connected, organized, efficient and productive
2. Eliminating paper files and mastering digital communication
3. Knowing and practicing information security best practices
4. Learning tips and steps to preventing stress and overwork

The value of enterprise-wide mobility best practices is unmistakable. Engaging in mobility best practices can make a measurable difference in enterprise performance, efficiency, wellness and engagement. When done properly, these best practices will maximize personal accessibility, response time, consistent connectivity, secure access to data, and health & well-being, all essential in today’s changing work environment. Imagine how these benefits could be magnified exponentially if every mobile team member adopted these same practices all at the same time!

So, the next time you walk through the office and notice all those unoccupied desks, it’s not so crazy to imagine that actually being a good thing. Begin making plans right now to further improve efficiency by transforming the workplace to a shared work environment through effective mobility training!

___________________________________________

See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Adopting Mobility Best Practices course outline.

The post Proven best practices for preparing your mobile workforce appeared first on e-work.com.

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