Autonomy at work is a popular topic of conversation at a time when the work culture is gradually becoming more relaxed in most organisations. The transition from the strict corporate work culture to an employee-friendly workplace is apparent. However, like any transitory phase, people usually undergo bouts of hesitation and niggling doubts about what is ideal or necessary and what isn’t. It is no different for work culture.
New lines are being drawn and organisations are slowly going out of their way to bend the rigid conventional rules and guarantee better work experience for their employees. That explains why coworking spaces are becoming the latest trend. They offer the convenience and flexibility in terms of location and work hours. These shared office spaces have broken out of the formulae, and are providing entrepreneurs and their employees the independence of opting for flexi-timings, across their multiple locations.
However, the new work ideal is not yet clearly defined. Most organisations are deliberating over what degree of autonomy would be the best for them, as a company, and at the same time benefit their employees. It may be a tough decision to take since freedom is unquantifiable. Perhaps, the secret lies in finding the perfect balance between structure and autonomy.
So, what is autonomy at work?It is the freedom to choose how, where and when to work. It also empowers the employees to determine the sequence of their tasks at hand as long as they meet the stipulated deadlines. The opportunity to take independent decisions as an individual and as a team also makes them autonomous to a certain extent.
Autonomy at work can also be defined as the trust that the organisation invests in their employees to eke out the best from them. It includes:
Freedom from Micro Management
Trusting employees to self-manage their work boosts their confidence and increases their self-esteem, which in turn enhances their quality of work.Leaving them on their own, after a certain period of hand-holding, moulds them to think independently. In a matter of time, they grow to drive important business decisions and become an asset for the company.
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Freedom to Work Individually and As A team
While organisations may encourage employees to plan their own work schedules, they might run the risk of creating an isolated company culture. Organising group activities or assigning more than one employee for a project gives them the freedom to hone the skill of teamwork by engaging with their peers.
Freedom from Rigid Practises
Organisations tend to stick to the time-tested rules rather than undertake the risk of going against the conventional norms. Allowing employees the independence to work in a way that they feel would enhance their work productivity is an exhilarating experience indeed!
Freedom from Set Rules Regarding Breaks
Flexible lunch hours, a growing workplace trend, encourage the workforce to set their own goals, take breaks accordingly and come back rejuvenated. What’s more, employees are free to even lunch at their work desk, if that suits them better, or when work deadlines keep them away from joining their colleagues for lunch.
Organisations are also gradually moving away from the stringent norm of allowing employees not more than one break in a workday and that too at a fixed hour of the day.In contrast, companies now want their employees to go for multiple breaks to refresh their mind frequently.They are reposing trust in them and the freedom to choose the time and the number of breaks they take.
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Freedom to Enjoy Work
Employees are now offered the independence to listen to music as long as they don’t disturb their colleagues, start a meaningful conversation with co-workers in a low voice or play a game of foosball. As long as they don’t lose their sense of accountability to the organisation, they enjoy the autonomy to schedule their work according to the required deadlines.
As opposed to micromanaging every task that they work on, it may be a smart decision to supervise their performance through online tracking platforms and offer feedback. It takes a two-way process between the top management of organisations and employees to strike the right balance. Evolved work ethics that ensure transparency between the management and the workforce provide the latter with a sense of freedom at work. This, in turn, boosts their efficiency. After all, happy employees are the most productive employees.
Share with us what gives you a sense of freedom at your workplace.
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