First there is the issue of time. “You can order goods 24/7. There are no restrictions like office hours, business hours, or even opening hours for shops.” As for tools, more companies are fostering mobility with notebooks and similar tools. “Instead of some cash register, you can work on your iPad.” Even banking services are available for your smartphone. Yet, many companies still do not understand.
Judas puts this down to a psychological block. “There is still the thought that I need to be present at my work desk so that people see that I’m working.” And there are good reasons for flexible work times and locations. “We have people who can do great work in the morning or overnight. If the tasks allow it, they should be able to choose the times when they feel most comfortable and creative to work.” But there are issues to look out for.
Working and communicating with others across time zones can be an issue. “In the worst case, you have one team in India and one in the US. It is quite challenging to find meeting times but it is absolutely possible if you’re not tied to fixed work schedules.” Also, a challenge is working at home and dealing with family, friends, and neighbours. “You might get asked if you are unemployed or if you are working at all if you are at home around noon.” But there is a need for physical contact in the working environment between colleagues. “I really recommend that you have times when you bring people together.” And he even suggests virtual social meetings, such as having small talk by Skype while colleagues eat.
Companies can do several things to create a more mobile workforce, Judas says. One is increase knowledge among the workforce about the digital tools available to them at work and in their private lives. Second, promote transparency. Managers should provide clear goals and remove blocks, while sta should commit to what they can achieve. This keeps people motivated and self-su£cient. And perhaps most important, is trust. “If you ask somebody, ‘who are you?’, most people talk about their jobs. This is their identity. And we have to trust that most people like their job because it gives them identity.”