"Face time" used to be the stick every employee was measured by. Companies long rewarded workers who put in the time to commute to the office, plant themselves in their seat for the better half of a day, and drive home, only to repeat the process the next day.
If an employee was willing to sacrifice time normally spent on family, friends, and hobbies, they were clearly devoted to the company -- and more likely to earn a promotion.
That's no longer the case today: One study found that 76 percent of people believe that work is no longer where you are, but what you do. Of those same respondents, 62 percent felt technology should help employees increase their productivity and ability to collaborate.
Those responses make sense in a world where 83 percent of people work remotely at least part of the time and 90 percent of companies use contingent labor. As companies transition to a more variable and active workspace, businesses need to redesign their infrastructures to better support both employees and customers.
For decades, people have envisioned the next iteration of our world looking a lot like "The Jetsons," with people commuting to work in flying cars and having their houses cleaned by robots. Maybe that's not so far off -- A.I is making significant advancements, autonomous vehicles are progressing quickly, and the first flying car is supposed to hit the market in 2019.
The problem is that organizations tend to think in terms of what's needed today instead of what's needed tomorrow.
Business vs. Innovation
PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the most innovative companies are anticipating growth of more than 62 percent in the coming five years, while the companies deemed the least innovative are only expecting about 21 percent growth over the same time period.
The first step we need to take is to adopt a forward-thinking strategy that pairs a business's objectives with the innovations that will help meet those goals.
Almost 80 percent of PwC's most innovative companies had developed strategies, whereas only 47 percent of their least innovative competitors had. Outlining what needs to be changed, where groups experience bottlenecks, and which opportunities are waiting to be seized can enable a team to quickly prioritize where it can make lasting impacts and smooth the way for future innovations.
This strategy, above all, should focus on the technological limitations and opportunities facing a company. Pulling apart individual processes or problems can reveal a host of ways a company might be handcuffing itself, and simply pushing back against the "way we've always done things" can be one way to identify and discover new, superior processes.
The strategy can't live on its own, however; it has to be managed. This is what trips up some of the most forward-thinking companies that have invested in technology and innovation: They've developed a great plan, but no one's in charge of driving it.
It's critical to put a person or team in place to establish points of contact and track a plan's milestones. Knowing that people will be held accountable for details like options, costs, resources, and implementation can propel teams forward.
Accomplishments vs. Time
Face time may not hold the value it once did, but that's because businesses are now rewarding people for what they've actually accomplished -- not how much time they've spent in the office.
If businesses want employees to accomplish more, they have to build a workplace today that will meet their needs tomorrow.
An infrastructure that supports employees to do their best work will benefit not only them, but also their customers and their company -- and that's what should earn a promotion.