Considerations for Leaders in Sustaining Organizational Learning within a Flex Work Model

Considerations for Leaders

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Learning organizations are those that acquire information, share it, process it, and use it for continual improvement. All teams must develop mechanisms and buy-in for supporting this knowledge sharing cycle, though it is particularly important that companies utilizing a flex work model do this well in order to succeed. Without a strong collective knowledge bank, it is likely your company will spend a lot of time taking one step forward and two steps back.
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Cost Reduction – Supply Chain

Cost Reduction – Supply Chain

By Eric Johnson

Supply chain is an area where substantial savings can be captured due to the many impacts on production and operations. However, some management teams tend to shy away from large scale projects, only employing them when something breaks or sometimes when it's too late. A key approach here is to be proactive, and start when the first issues appear, which will allow a longer time frame to enact change.
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Cost Analysis – Operations

Cost Analysis – Operations

By Eric Johnson

As we think through cost analysis opportunities, whether during times of crisis or during routine analysis, a key focal point is reducing extraneous costs to the business while maintaining the tools, processes, and skill sets that provide the value proposition to the customer.
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Mindfulness interventions work…. But how about for those in male-oriented jobs?

Mindfulness interventions


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to be a helpful workplace tool for many individuals. They are associated with great outcomes like reductions in stress and negative affectivity. But there are still a few interesting questions remaining…
• Do these interventions only work for people in certain occupations (e.g., education and health)?
• Do these interventions fail for people in certain social contexts (e.g., when they are surrounded by individuals who think mindfulness if a waste of time)?
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Setting the Right G.O.A.L.S. for Safety

Setting the Right GOALS for Safety


By Josh Williams, Ph. D.

Leaders need to make sure they set intelligence safety goals to improve performance and prevent SIFs. Proper goal setting helps field leaders and employees understand the value of a unified greater purpose. They also set objective, actionable behaviors which should be integrated into daily activities. Research demonstrates that there is a statistically significant reduction in injuries when leaders effectively articulate a compelling vision and inspire employees to work towards goals that meet that mission (Hoffmeister et al., 2014). Also, a 10% improvement in employee’s understanding of organizational values and goals results in a 12.7% reduction in safety incidents (Gallup, 2017). The G.O.A.L.S. acronym is a helpful heuristic to set smart safety goals for the organization. Safety goals should have these elements:
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Reducing Organizational Footprints

Reducing Organizational Footprints


By Eric Johnson

The tidal wave of working from home experiences may ultimately push many organizations to permanently establish work from home capabilities even after the Covid crisis has ended. Some organizations will push for a majority of their employees to stay home fully, while others may require in office work periodically for everyone, possibly on a weekly or staggering scale, e.g. alphabetically by day or by specific business unit based on strategic need. Considering the above, organizations have a tremendous opportunity to extract expenses and improve both the balance sheet and P&L through the strategic planning of facilities.
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Cost Analysis and the Organization

Cost Analysis and the Organization

By Eric Johnson

Every organization engages in constant analysis of the business and the reduction in costs is no exception. Obviously during the pandemic everyone is making sure to account to the last penny where they can save and pull costs out of the business. Even during good times, responsible stewards are always on the hunt to see where they can create efficiencies and do more with less.

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Ethics and Flex Work

Ethics and Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom PhD

As more individuals are working from home than ever, this raises interesting questions and important considerations regarding ethics. When working remotely, there are more circumstances in which employees and leaders alike operate under little surveillance. There are several ethical perspectives that should be considered in a flexible work environment. Two important ones are the ethics involved with employee work and the ethical situations leaders might encounter.

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Sit or Stand? Experimental Research Findings on Sit-Stand Desks


sit and stand

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

An interesting study was published recently in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology exploring the effects of standing desks. Employees who worked in sedentary jobs were randomly assigned to a control group (no change in their usual behavior) or an intervention group (were provided with adjustable sit-stand desks and instructions on how to use them).

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Flex Work – 2022?

Flex Work – 2022



By Eric Johnson

Further into the future as the pandemic has waned for some time, idea of flex work as a normal aspect of business operations may become permanent as organizations grow accustomed to the cost savings and flexibility offered to workers. With several considerations, organizations can plan around the culture shift and assist employees by creating purposeful guidelines and norms for the future.

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Rethinking the Workspace

rethinking the workspace

By Dale Lawrence

As we slowly step out into the world, still mindful of Coronavirus, we need to consider that for the next 12-18 months (or much longer) our concept of daily commuting to an office, sitting at a desk, attending meetings in boardrooms and commuting back home has changed and may never return to how it was previously. While the natural reaction of most companies is to call their employees back to work, employers should be asking asking important questions: Why? Is it really safe? Are we bringing workers to the office because we want to see the employees together? Is it because we yearn for normal? Do we need to portray confidence? Or are we bringing them back because we have the physical space? None of these reasons would be wrong. It is critical to capture the business needs; however, self-reflection may open some new opportunities.
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How to reduce customer anxiety in car sales

contactless car sales

By Julia Borges

Purchasing a vehicle is always a big deal. From deciding between various vehicle options to filling out all necessary paperwork, it can certainly cause a fair amount of anxiety for customers. Financing or leasing a car has always been viewed as a long, tedious process with many steps that will most likely keep customers there for the majority of their day – and in some cases, can even take multiple days.

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Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work Causes Interpersonal Conflict

Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Whether it is full time or part of the time, more people are working from home than ever. Although it is becoming clear that many individuals enjoy working virtually, tensions can build between different groups of employees who work onsite as residents, those who work flexibly between the office and home, and those who work entirely from home.
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Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work Model

Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Researchers who study telework argue that successful virtual teams are determined more by successful or unsuccessful leadership rather than other factors such as technology (1). Poor leadership is poor leadership. If you take a substandard leader and move them into a flex work environment - they won’t do any better. There are foundational leadership competencies that help all teams succeed - whether the team is in an office or working remotely. These include leading with a big picture goal and supporting the company’s vision, building interpersonal connections and collaboration, walking the talk, demonstrating ethics and integrity, managing change, creating a safe space for people to speak up and innovate, and more.

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Will Flex Work Change My Culture?

Will Flex Work Change My Culture


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

As many businesses are considering (or have already decided) moving some employees to a permanent telework model after the COVID-19 outbreak, the question comes up often —
What does this mean for the culture? A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (Schein, 1985). The people are your culture - so any major change in how people work within your company has the potential to change the culture - for better or for worse.

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Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work?

Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Introducing telework into a culture that does not support flexible work arrangements can set up a business for failure. It is important to deeply consider culture before, during, and after changes to the company that involve employees working from home. If the attitude is that telework is not going to succeed - it will not. A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (1). Norms and assumptions run deep, and they are all around (staying at your desk late to symbolize commitment to the boss, how long to take a coffee break, the clothes you wear to the office, how you talk to your team vs. your leader, what is frowned upon, and so on). Clearly these everyday practices and assumptions will be disturbed by integrating a major new component into work.

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Rethinking the Tight Grip: A Flex Work Tip for Leaders

flex work tip for leaders



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

If you are accustomed to a leadership style that involves close monitoring to feel in control of what employees are doing daily, this will be a point of consideration when employees transitioning to more flexible telecommuting model. Previously, you might have conducted “walk-arounds” to observe work onsite. With a flexible work environment, this will not be as possible.
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What’s in it for the workers? Benefits of Flex Work

flex work and what is in it for workers



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


In previous blogs we have discussed the benefits companies can experience from Flex Work arrangements (1). Because flexible work requires less commuting and office space, this also has positive implications for the environment. This is because there is an associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (2). There are clear benefits to businesses and the environment, but how about individuals? Although some individuals experience negative components of remote work, such as loneliness (see our blog post on common challenges associated with Flex Work, 3), there are many positive outcomes employees can enjoy from Flex Work.
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Flex Work from a Process Perspective

Flex work from process perspective


By Eric Johnson

In a related post we discussed the implications of remote work activities from an accounting and finance perspective. But what about the actual work that needs to get done? How does an organization transition an office setup complete with all the needs for performing job duties, into a decentralized network of home or remote-based employees? What are the modifications in terms of job activities and work processes that necessitate a change from the current state?
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Flex Work from an Accounting and Finance Perspective

Flex work financial benefits


By Eric Johnson

As the pandemic further pushes the work environment into remote and off-site arrangements, we are beginning to see conversations regarding the future of work, and what remote working would encompass over the course of a longer period of time. Many organizations already have telecommuting options to reduce employees’ exposure to long commute times, approaching this type of arrangement as a perk of employment.
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Returning to a Safe and Healthy Office Work Environment Blog Series: Office Environment Setup

Office Environment Setup

By Brie DeLisi

Many of us are in the process of shifting back into office environments or considering the appropriate next steps for a safe return to the office. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken for the physical work environment to ensure employees are kept as safe and healthy as possible. The purpose of these physical work environment adjustments is to ensure employees can be properly distanced to avoid COVID exposures the air and that shared resources limit surface exposures. Considerations should include employee distancing, space resourcefulness, adding structures, air ventilation, shared resources and sanitation.
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Returning to a Safe and Healthy Office Work Environment Blog Series: The New Normal

Ferris wheel


By Brie DeLisi

Have the last few months felt like a rollercoaster? It is time for us to embrace the new normal, in which nothing is ‘normal’ anymore. This blog series will explore options for returning to the office (or not), what the new workplace might look like, and how to best prepare for what might be a long period of uncertainty.




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Concerned About Flex Work?

Concerned About Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.


There is evidence to suggest that Flex Work can be a very successful model. Whether working entirely remote from home or in a flex arrangement between the office and home, this can have positive implications for the bottom line (see:
The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment) and for the individual.
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Strategies for Workers, From Workers: Creating a Successful Flex Work Experience

Strategies for Workers

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

The nature of work is changing to be more flexible, and it is becoming more essential to understand the best ways to work remotely. In a research study examining practices utilized by high performing teleworkers (1), strategies were identified that help workers overcome common barriers associated with remote work. These include:
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Leadership Competencies and COVID Re-Entry

leadership-competencies


Drs. Josh Williams and Madison Hanscom

Leaders are looking for direction to manage employees during COVID re-entry. Leaders need to juggle business realities, employees’ physical safety, and emerging mental health struggles that people are facing. Our leadership competency model is a useful framework to guide leadership behaviors as we begin getting back to work.

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