Logistics Executive CEO Executive Series - October 2014

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Information about Logistics Executive CEO Executive Series - October 2014
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Published on October 23, 2014

Author: DarrylJudd

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FLEXING UP THE WORKPLACE -
THE POTENTIAL POSITIVES AND THE PITFALLS OF TELECOMMUTING

1. CEO EXECUTIVE SERIES 30 OCTOBER 2014 FLEXING UP THE WORKPLACE THE POTENTIAL POSITIVES AND THE PITFALLS OF TELECOMMUTING NEWS & EVENTS Upcoming Events Global Logistic and Cargo Symposium 2014 - Kuala Lumpur October 29–30th, 2014 The third year of Global Logistic and Cargo Symposium will take off on at the Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur - Glenmarie, Malaysia. This annual event organised by MiceVision this year will discuss and focus on Networking and Supply Chain Benchmarking for improved performance and sustainability. This year, more interesting topics will be discussed and speakers will share their thoughts and minds on the issues. www.glcs-asia.com Asia-Pacific Chief Supply Chain Officer Forum - Singapore Eye for Transport’s The Chief Supply Chain Officer Forum being held 4-5th November in Singapore, is one of the most high-level gatherings of logistics and supply chain executives. Over 150 senior supply chain and logistics executives attend the event year on year, making the CSCO Forum the one event that you cannot afford to miss in 2014. For more information: www.events.eyefortransport.com Logistics Executive Global News Logistics Executive Group appoints Fauzi Lee as Group Marketing Executive With the expansion of Logistics Executive Group’s Corporate Advisory Services and introduction of a global E-learning platform for the Supply Chain & Logistics sectors, Fauzi Lee has been appointed to head the Group’s Marketing and e-learning education portal, Logistics Academy. Based in Singapore, Fauzi will oversee significant changes to the positioning of the Group’s brand and services. For more information see: www.logisticsexecutive.com Does Telecommuting, working from home, offering flexible work practices really deliver the employee benefits are expected? Carmel Perales, Logistics Exec-utive Group’s General Manager South East Asia ex-plores this highly relevant, yet emotional topic. “Flexible Work Practices”, “Working from Home” or “Telecommuting”, whatever you call it, the concept of working remotely from home, a coffee shop down the road, basically anywhere outside of a traditional office environment still garners a lot of bluster and controversy. Yet the concept, which was first introduced in the workforce over 30 years ago seems to have been largely embraced with “one in five workers around the globe, particularly employees in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day" according to a Reuters poll. It is fairly easy to see how this success has come about. On the one hand, telecommuting has enabled employers to overcome many challenges which have enabled them to employ a more diverse workforce such as the challenges of geographical distances, and working mothers. Of course many employees have embraced the freedom and balance that the concept engenders. On the other hand, there seems a new wave of thinking led Marissa Mayer who caused quite a stir when, as one of her first gesture as new CEO at Yahoo in 2013, she axed the company’s telecommuting policy for most of its employees. Mayer, along with many other executives since argue that eliminating telecommuting © 2014 LRS Group Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved PAGE !1

2. CEO EXECUTIVE SERIES 30 OCTOBER 2014 There was a huge media flap at the time with many articles written about how she was setting work practices backwards and that Yahoo staff would be leaving left, right and centre. Yet Yahoo still remains one of the most sought after employers globally. So what are the pros and cons? It is worth kicking around the concept to see how different companies have faired with their treatment of this controversial policy. Firstly, let’s look at some examples of the benefits: In a recent article written by Megan Lavey-Heaton for The Guardian, in the US, “on a nationwide scale, increasing the number of telecommuters could save nearly 289m barrels of oil and 52.8m metric tons of greenhouse gases annually. That, according to a study from the Telework Research Network in 2010, is the equivalent of $23.1bn in oil savings and the equivalent of taking 10m cars off the road. When Sun Microsystems took a look at its telecommuting program, the company found that it avoided $64m per year in real estate costs, $2.5m on the electricity bill and employees saved an average of $2,335 per year in telecommuting costs.” On a research conducted by Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson), on behalf of Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, a publication about Work Life Harmony titled “Flexible Work Arrangements”, reveals both local and international MNCs who are engaged in flexible work arrangements. Example of which is Immunex Corporation, a biotechnology company; NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited; Unigard Insurance Group; Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries of America, Inc; and some companies engaged in telecommuting such as IBM Canada, Nortel, Norsk Hydro, and Procter and Gamble. In the Ministry of Manpower Singapore publication on “Flexible Work Arrangements” (page 13), a case study was conducted at Norsk Hydro, a multi-billion company and one of Norway’s largest companies specialising in oil production, supply of fertilizers worldwide, and the provision of gas and electrical power. In this study, “the need to attract and retain talents was the key motivating factor which led to the decision to introduce flexible work practices. Competition for talents is increasing in Norway because of a small population base. The company is vying with traditional competitors as well as Internet start-ups and management consultancy firms. The company introduced flexi-work under the auspices of a project called Hydroflex in 1998. Under the scheme, employees have the choice of working at the office or from home. To create the home office, the company gave each employee computer equipment, ISDN line and US$2,000 to purchase furniture. Working hours is full-time, approximately 37.5 hours per week, but flexible. Employees work when and where they want to, depending on the nature of work, deadlines and productivity goals, etc. They have the option to work at home two days a week. Although some employees were initially doubtful about the scheme, most are now supportive. Many feel that they are more productive as the focus now is on their results and output, rather than where and when they are working. They are also able to take advantage of the flexibility to fulfil their family responsibilities.” In the similar publication (page 14), Procter and Gamble, one of the global giants in consumer products “has been the driving force behind the introduction of flexible work arrangements were to nurture a motivated and engaged workforce, and at the same time improve cost efficiency. Under the “Work from Home” program, employees are allowed to opt for this scheme if the nature of their work permits. TRAINING AND STAFF PERFORMANCE Logistics Executive in conjunction with partners is committed to providing the most relevant and cutting-edge Supply Chain, Logistics & Executive development to your employees upgrading their future skills and helping to retrain. Our short and long-term courses include industry specific seminars, tier one accredited courses, and on-site customised training developed for Supply Chain and Logistics employ-ers. Logistics Executive Training Academy provides Quality Training and Develop-ment for companies and organisations that meet their individual needs. We provide training and assessment services that are relevant, flexible and of the highest quality. More Information on Logistics Executive Academy Training and Development Programs iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii- © 2014 LRS Group Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved PAGE !2

3. CEO EXECUTIVE SERIES 30 OCTOBER 2014 For a better work-life balance, the company actively encourages its employees to take up this scheme. In fact, its office is designed such that there are no fixed seats for the employees. 60% - 70% of the seats are occupied daily. Procter and Gamble drew up a clear workplan and communicated its expectation to its employees. Besides providing a dedicated phone line meant for office work, it also installed a chat software in the employees’ laptop so as to enable them to stay in touch with each other. Employees are also reimbursed for the purchase of ergonomically designed chairs. Procter and Gamble reported an increase in productivity as a result of a more satisfied and motivated workforce. Savings from reduction in office space were passed on to it customer without lowering the quality standards of its products. For the successful implementation of flexi-work, the company stressed that it is important to communicate the policies clearly and explain their rationale in a clear and transparent manner. Secondly, it is useful to pilot the scheme on a group of employees to showcase the success of the programmes. It would be easier to generate employee support if they could see tangible evidence of success.” Based on these examples there are considerable gains to be made in adopting a policy that was tailored for your company needs. This brings us back to our Yahoo example and Marissa Mayer’s decision which though deemed outrageous to many, actually garnered a lot of support in some executive circles. In a radio interview, Michael Bloomberg commented that “telecommuting is one of the dumber ideas I’ve ever heard.” Mayer has since elaborated that her idea was to get people to start talking to each other, to collaborate more so they could foster creativity and the best way to do this is to get people together, to have face to face discussions. Another issue of note is that, while working from home has been embraced by C-level executives and by the lower ranks, it is still thought of with some suspicion amongst middle managers. They argued that whilst flexible work arrangements provide benefits, there are some key issues arising such as trust and supervision, communication between staff who work at varying times or achieving fairness for all staff etc. Though we have the technology to make telecommuting a success, what Mayer is pointing out is that we still require the right team of people or individuals to make it work. It could also be argued that her lack of communication at the time also exacerbated the issue. Perhaps you need to have more than just a good telecommuting policy. Perhaps it is about how that policy is put into practice. A recent study by Stanford University, found that even though working from home (WFH) has clear benefits, it is very important to implement the policy in a way that allows employees to make the most of it. “The results of a WFH experiment at Ctrip, a 16,000- employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were randomly assigned either to work from home or in the office for 9 months. Home working led to a 13% performance increase, of which 9% was from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick days) and 4% from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter and more convenient working environment). Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction and their attrition rate halved, but their promotion rate conditional on performance fell. Due to the success of the experiment, Ctrip rolled out the option to WFH to the whole firm and allowed the experimental employees to re-select between the home and office. Interestingly, over half of them switched, which led to the gains from WFH almost doubling to 22%. This highlights the benefits of learning and selection effects when adopting modern management practices like WFH”. © 2014 LRS Group Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved PAGE !3

4. CEO EXECUTIVE SERIES 28 JULY 2014 Logistics Executive www.logisticsexecutive.com Australia Sydney Ph: +61 2 8262 9800 Melbourne Ph: +61 3 9863 9488 Brisbane Ph: +61 3 9863 9488 Asia Shanghai Ph: +86 21 6427 6697 Singapore Ph: +65 6692 9202 Hong Kong Ph: +852 3125 7654 Mumbai Ph: +91 22 6608 9532 New Delhi Ph: +91 124 469 6680 Chennai Ph: +91 44 4202 4819 Middle East UAE Dubai Ph: +971 4 361 6275 Europe London Ph: +44 20 3239 7624 For a copy of the 2014 Logistics Executive Global Employment Report email: darrylj@logisticsexecutive.com or kimw@logisticsexecutive.com So ultimately, everyone would have to agree that this is quite a complex subject. It has vast benefits if used wisely. Ultimately an extremely useful tool in the competitive arsenal of most companies if used with consultation and precision tailoring. Particularly, in Supply Chain and Logistics where time is of the essence and availability of individuals at a prescribed schedule is necessary especially for projects requiring team synergy and flexibility within a globally expanding market were staff are limited and the dynamics are forever changing. In order to assess the individual and company value some companies ask for employee inputs. At Cornell University’s HR website on Your Life at Cornell, where flexible work arrangements are supported, came up some of the considerations when contemplating flexible work arrangements. Employees need to set in detail their goal, work assignments, metrics and other issues that may require consideration or change in the future. Employees need to know the requirements of the department manager or director and the impact of such flexible work arrangement to colleagues and customer needs. Ultimately, the key to make this endeavour is to set clear guidelines and policies which are communicated effectively to employees. Reliable tracker of hours worked are some of the tools to effectively manage employees on flexible work schedule. Visibility and transparency on activities and outcomes are critical and should be measurable. Given above pros and cons on flexible work arrangements, my question is, are we prepared to lose our high performing people or should we begin working on setting structures and guidelines and slowly embrace the benefits on increased productivity and retaining valuable employees? References 1 Patricia Reaney (January 24, 2012) 2 Doug Guthrie (January 3 2013) 3 Megan Lavey-­‐Heaton (March 2014) 4 mom.gov.sg/statistics and publications/ others/work-­‐life harmony 5 mom.gov.sg/statistics and publications/ others/work-­‐life harmony 6 mom.gov.sg/statistics and publications/ others/work-­‐life harmony 7 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ article-­‐2286900/Michael-­‐Bloomberg-­‐backs-­‐ Marissa-­‐Mayers-­‐ban-­‐saying-­‐hes-­‐thought-­‐ working-­‐home-­‐dumber-­‐ideas-­‐Ive-­‐heard.html 8 https://web.stanford.edu/~nbloom/ WFH.pdf 9 www.hr.cornell.edu AUTHOR PROFILE: MS CARMEL PERALES, GENERAL MANAGER SOUTHEAST ASIA LOGISTICS EXECUTIVE GROUP Heading Logistics Executive Group’s business operations across Southeast Asia, Carmel works closely with established MNC clients and organisations looking to enter the Asia marketplace with specialization in Supply Chain and Logistics. With 12 years of Executive Leadership experience, along with a university degree in Behavioural Science and graduated Cum Laude she is regularly called upon to deliver sound strategic and operational execution advice across Organisational Leadership and Talent Management from Executive Search, Career Transition and Corporate HR in Supply Chain and Logistics, Manufacturing, FMCG, Education and Healthcare industries. Email: CarmelP@logisticsexecutive.com © 2014 LRS Group Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved PAGE !4

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