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Author Topic: Proposed Human Capital Paradigm Shift  (Read 3387 times)

Jay Sadie

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Proposed Human Capital Paradigm Shift
« on: February 10, 2013, 02:13:58 AM »

Proposed Human Capital Paradigm Shift

A disruptive idea by Juan (Jay) Sadie

As the World faces growing challenges to deal with the population growth and the pressures it places on infrastructures, roads, housing, pollution and so forth, the time has come to seriously find a solution.

One way would be to stem population growth, but that poses its own challenges, i.e. human rights violations, social implications and the practical implementation of such a plan.

Urban sprawl and growing cities have become a headache for urban planners. More and more people are moving to cities, forcing urban developers to build upwards. Huge skyscrapers are rising at an alarming rate across the globe to cater for high-density population growth. Efforts in the past to move people out of cities to rural environment have not been successful, mainly because people go where the work and money is.

Telecommuting was supposed to be the magic bullet that would allow people to work from their homes, thereby removing traffic off the roads, reducing green house gasses, and saving commuting time which would allow people to spend more time with their loved ones.

The biggest problem with Telecommuting is that companies do not trust their employees to do their work at home. How would they know that an employee is actually working and not goofing off?

Well, the problem with the current model is that people are mostly paid based on the hours that they work. Usually an employee is expected to work 40 hours per week. This is where the paradigm shift needs to occur. Employees should be paid for the amount and quality of work they do, and not for the hours they put in. There are obviously certain jobs that have to be performed on an hourly basis, e.g. a waiter in a restaurant. He/she obviously cannot serve customers from home. However, these types of jobs are in the minority.

Another impediment of Telecommuting has been technology shortfalls. Remote Network Connections were too slow and unreliable. This has now changed, as bandwidths have increased dramatically and up-time has become totally acceptable.

Before continuing with more details about how to implement such a disruptive new model, let’s first examine the benefits of such a paradigm shift:
  • Time savings – if you for instance commute 30 minutes to work you will save one hour per day by working from home.
  • Money savings – to commute to work costs money, and for some this could be a substantial amount. Working from home will have costs associated with it, i.e. space, utilities, office furniture, etc. But these could be subsidized by the company in the form of an allowance, or by the government by giving well-thought-out tax breaks to telecommuters. Then there is also the savings in car maintenance and insurance costs (if you commute to work in your own car). At the end of the day there will be a net gain to the employee who works from home.
  • Less traffic on the roads – this is a no-brainer. Think of the frustrations associated with commuting to work in heavy traffic. Stress can negatively affect your health.
  • Smaller corporate offices – imagine how much floor space a company needs to accommodate 1,000 employees. Office space is expensive, especially in cities. If most employees work from home, a company will be able to reduce their office space substantially. This relates to huge savings, which they could pass onto their employees by paying them more. And happy employees are more productive!
  • Reduced office politics and gossip – increases worker solidarity and promotes positive team relationships.
  • Flexible hours – enables employees to determine their own working schedule. Gives them the ability to take time off to perform personal responsibilities.
  • Work for any company in the World – you can live on a farm in Texas and work for a company in New York or Tokyo. You no longer have to move if you get a new job. This has always been a serious problem for most. People don’t like to move around for various reasons, and because of this it limits people’s choice of whom they can work for (in the old model).
Any plan or idea will always face problems and challenges. Here is a list of potential problems, and possible solutions:

[table border=1]
[tr]
[td]Problem[/td]
[td]Solution[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Lack of human interaction, especially with co-workers.[/td]
[td]Video conference calls, Skype.
Instant Messenger, chat software.
Occasional face-to-face meetings.
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Difficult to know if employee is actually working.[/td]
[td]Focus on deliverables rather than time spent.
Must have clear service agreement in place.
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Servicing/fixing of equipment.[/td]
[td]Agreements with local hardware providers.
Employee responsible for taking equipment to authorized agent, or some companies do house-calls (which will be ideal). This can create a whole new industry for companies willing to take up the challenge.
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Unable to share printers, copiers, etc.[/td]
[td]Printers and copiers have become cheaper and cheaper, while improving in quality. Most people have these at home anyway.
No more having to wait at the office for someone’s print job to finish (especially if they’re printing large documents).  Besides, aren’t we supposed to be a “paperless society” by now? Another paradigm shift perhaps?
[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]How do you build a company culture when most employees are working from home?[/td]
[td]Great opportunity for holding social/team-building events on some weekends/evenings.
In the current model we spend more time with our co-workers than with our families. It is therefore less attractive to spend even more time with them on such events. By not “seeing” our co-workers during the week will create more willingness, or perhaps even a desire, to interact with them on thoughtfully planned events.
[/td]
[/tr]
[/table]

Here are some ideas of how to successfully implement this new Work-from-Home model:
  • Most importantly one must be willing to open one’s mind to such a radical disruptive paradigm shift. It is very difficult to let go of something that has been in place for ever and a day. But just because we have been doing something in a certain way does not mean it is the right way. We all know the definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Well, most people on Earth are commuting  to work every weekday morning, and then back again in the evening. As the population grows the time to get to work increases, and so do the frustration levels. Not to mention the impact on our environment. Sounds insane.
  • Technology is our friend. If it were not for the incredible leaps and bounds that computers have made in the past 3 decades or so, we would not be in a position to even consider such a change. Computers, software and vastly improved worldwide communications (the Internet) now make it possible to execute this new model. Needless to say that in order to implement you MUST have high-speed access to your employer. If you don’t have this you will unfortunately have to stay with the old model... or move to an area where you will have access... or just wait until technology catches up in your area (which will be much sooner than you might imagine).
  • A very solid service agreement must be in place with each employee, outlining exactly what the duties and expectations are. Each deliverable must be clearly specified and a timeline attached to it (typically one week sprints). Fortunately there are good project management packages available on the market. These would have to be modified slightly to cater for this new model. But, the principles are the same. Think of it as breaking up an employee’s tasks into mini-projects. The employer and the employee will mutually agree at what needs to be delivered, and how much time it will take. It’s along the same lines as a “fixed contract bid”. This project approach will create an organized structure throughout the company, where all tasks will be mapped company-wide at all times. With one glance an executive will be able to see how work is progressing in the company, and pin-point potential problem areas where targets won’t be met on time. The benefits go on and on...
  • Employees must be given a checklist of what equipment will be needed to perform their tasks, i.e. computer specs, software to be loaded, minimum desk space, stationary needed, etc. This could be controlled via strategic partnership agreements with hardware/software suppliers and/or support companies.
  • Remote communication software is of the utmost importance. Employees must be able to dial in to their office networks (which will probably be on the Cloud in the near future). They also must have software loaded on their computers, or have access to software on the Cloud, that will enable them to freely communicate with co-workers. Skype comes to mind as a good candidate for this.
  • Individual project management software is also a must. This is the only way that both employers and employees will be able to track and monitor progress on specific tasks/deliverables. Employees will have to become their own project managers. They will have to enter their progress on a regular basis, and be able to raise an issue should they notice that their deadlines are in jeopardy of not being met. In the beginning there will obviously be growing pains, but as time goes on this will become second nature to them, and will also enable them to get better at planning their tasks.
  • Traditional project managers will continue to play an important role in this new environment. They will manage each employee’s tasks in a consolidated view of the higher-level project in the case of a team-based deliverable. He/she will still be responsible for the overall project and will manage the individual team members remotely via video conference calls, and if need be, the occasional face-to-face meeting.
Final Thoughts

I am confident that this proposed disruptive model will change the World for the better. The rewards and positive ramifications will be well worth the dedication and efforts to implement such a challenging and difficult feat. If we want to continue to evolve as a species, while maintaining a good quality of life, we’ll have to do something drastic to curb the escalating downward spiral and stress we are placing on our environment, and ultimately on ourselves.


For more of my own personal ideas please click here...
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 02:32:45 AM by Jay Sadie »
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"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success." - Nikola Tesla
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