Why your response to strike days could make you a productivity dinosaur


Another day, another strike.

Perhaps you dodged a bullet by escaping today’s planned tube strikes, perhaps you’re at Heathrow waiting for a cabin-crew strike delayed flight to Glasgow. Either way, these strikes hurt.  But of course they do, there would be no point otherwise. 

From a business perspective, they hurt. According to the ONS, 281,000 working days were lost to strikes in 2016, up 100,000 in 2015. And nothing about the outlook for 2017 makes us think this year will be any better – arguably even worse (and just try commuting into London the day Trump arrives)!

So, we’re going to do what every marketing team does when these events present themselves and leap onto the ‘current issues bandwagon’ and say – IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! In fact, we’ll go further – if it is that way then it could be because you’re a dinosaur.

We sell cool tech. But we work in an industry that has made it hard for customers to buy that cool tech. That’s because the industry is so pleased with its cool tech that they give it cool tech names, like Unified Comms (UC – aargh) or FMC or contextual comms.

The result of all this industry-speak is that far too many customers are missing out on what is now a standard set of capabilities, which put together well, and with the end goal in mind, could mean that for many firms strike days could just become the most productive days of the month.

It’s not homeworking versus the office

We attended a meeting last week, hosted by the UK Contact Centre Forum – not an industry which you’d imagine would embrace homeworking. Three of the many FTSE 100 firms attending were so convinced that productivity from homeworkers was no less than 20% higher – that they’re driving programmes across all their workers to achieve these gains more widely. BT have had a significant home working population for some years now – and again are on record as saying home workers are 20% more productive.

OK so Home Agents are full time homeworkers and few firms are ready to embrace that. And BT should say that. In fact, we’d argue that the home versus work argument is missing the point- the modern workplace is wherever you are.

So if you are stuck in Starbucks waiting for the taxi queue to go down is there really any excuse for not attending the pipeline meeting face to face? No.. Perhaps you’re in the executive lounge at Heathrow waiting for your flight – can you really argue that you can’t work together with your team on that proposal or tender document? No. If you need to leave your office early to make sure you are home for your kid’s bedtime, is there anything stopping you seamlessly transferring the conference call you’re on to your mobile whilst you rush out the office (without anybody even knowing)? No..

Or perhaps you could just work from home all day, get your head down and crack on with a normal day’s work of endless meetings, 121s and office gossip.

Are you a flying picket?

We know that you know this stuff, it’s old news. Let’s agree that those productivity stats don’t apply to your firm and that remote working is no more or no less productive than normal office working for you (even if deep down we know you’re wrong). Put your money where your mouth is. Here’s a simple test:

If your teams can’t hold a face to face meeting wherever they are, if they can’t jump on a call, screen share and collaborate on a document from 5 different locations, if you can’t see whether they’re in a meeting or on a call without standing up from your desk or logging into their diary, then you could just be one of the many reasons that strike actions seem to be bringing business to a standstill.

Anybody can work from home. Or Starbucks. Or Heathrow. That’s not to say everybody can work from home – there will always be exceptions. Despite advances in robotics – it’ll be a long time before your obstetrician can dial in for a successful delivery. Some people simply must be where the customer is, that’s just the way it is. But if that’s not you, or not all your workers then the time for excuses is over.

Or you could just be a dinosaur.

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