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Offsite work, technology and the flexible project manager

Matthew Franceschini
May 23, 2012

The world of work is evolving rapidly and is now defined by completely different attitudes, demographics and technological resources than it was even a mere five years ago. In order to succeed in such an agile business environment, organisations have to listen to their staff and adapt to the changing attitudes and behaviours of the workforce.

Creating conditions that accommodate flexible and remote working arrangements is one of the options for organisations to consider implementing if they want to attract and retain the highest calibre of talented and skilled project managers.

In excess of 12 years working within the labour force market, I have observed that there is a major shift in employment models occurring, with more organisations making better use of a blended workforce structure made up of permanent and contract workers. The growth of organisations’ blended workforce is in part due to the value that engaging the best people to achieve the best outcomes has on the sustained business success.

As workforce models become more complex, organisations also need to ensure that they are appealing to the many and varied preferences of how their people like to work, such as accommodating flexible and remote working arrangements.

The power of a flexible solution

More often than not, a remote working arrangement is in favour of both the worker—be it permanent or contract—and the employer. It gives workers the opportunity to maintain the lifestyle they desire, while employers have access to a larger talent pool that they may have otherwise been denied, had the remote working arrangement not been a part of the mix.

Many organisations are already realising the benefits in offering remote working arrangements. Suncorp recently transitioned around 70% of their insurance claims division to a flexible working arrangement, allowing them to bring on the skilled individuals they required but had always struggled to attract.

The benefits go beyond attracting quality workers. This type of structure poses a great advantage to employers as not only can they increase productivity levels, they can also save on company overheads too. However employers need to ensure that they equip their workers with the necessary tools and resources to conduct their jobs as effectively as they could if they had a physical presence in the office.

Out of sight, out of mind

There’s an obvious perceived disadvantage that remote working arrangements instil the notion ‘out of sight, out of mind’ or that working remotely equates to not doing much work at all. As long as the employers are more mindful of how they measure productivity to ensure that work is actually being completed, there should be no real risk associated with the remote working arrangement.

Remote working arrangements do not mean the eradication of deadlines, so there should be no reason for a worker to be less productive or not complete tasks within the agreed timeframe.

Matthew Franceschini
Matthew Franceschini is a co-founder and the CEO of Entity Solutions, a contractor management agency. He has more than 10 years’ experience working in the contract workforce management industry. He holds a Bachelor of Economics and is also the Vice President of Independent Contractors of Australia.
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