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tackle in order to have a “winning day,” and organize their tasks accordingly.
This gives employees permission to question the way things have always been
done, develop and test new processes on their own, make improvements, and
suggest those improvements to a broader group.
- Keep learning. Employees are expected to continually learn new skills.
They are expected to question practices and reduce or eliminate habits that are
no longer useful. Time is allotted each week for all employees to “upgrade”
themselves, and a large catalog of training materials and classes is available.
Underpinning this effort are beliefs that time is the most democratic and
p r e c i o u s r e s o u r c e , a n d p e o p l e c a n m a k e mu c h b e t t e r u s e o f it t o b e m o r e p r o d u c t i v e
at work and have more time outside work. That is why the company has found
ways to give employees back some time to innovate and better serve customers
during working hours. Then, with work at the office streamlined and a culture
that encourages disconnecting from the workplace during off-hours, employees
no longer feel that they have to take time away from family to address work
issues. Employees are asked to look carefully at how they spend their time in the
office. Something is not working if people feel they need to be in the office for
long hours and work through vacations. Setting expectations that employees
should be working to finish a project, instead of just “working to be working,”
helps them focus on what’s important and puts time back where it belongs: on a
fulfilling life at and outside work.
Employees are urged to think anew about routine, administrative tasks,
looking at what’s necessary and what can be streamlined. Think of all the time
employees spend on email, calendars, and the like. The company is starting to set
up automated processes to take some of these tedious tasks off employees’ plates,
freeing up even more time.
Meetings are also examined. Just because a meeting has always been held for
an hour once a week doesn’t necessarily mean it should continue. It could be that
only a half hour is required weekly, or that the meeting could be held just twice
a month. The once-wasted time is freed up for working, finishing projects,
learning, and innovating. Everyone is empowered to do their best work, giving
them more free time to innovate on the job, and more time to enjoy outside work.
Both aspects are business-critical.