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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a significant change in the way businesses operate, and the world of Human Resources is no exception. One of the most significant HR trends that emerged during the pandemic is the need for flexibility and it is here to stay.

The traditional 9-to-5 workday in an office is no longer the norm. Remote work and hybrid work models have become increasingly popular, and many companies are now offering more flexible work arrangements to their employees. This shift towards flexibility has been driven by the need to balance work and personal life, reduce commuting time, and increase productivity.

Employers are also becoming more flexible in their approach to recruitment, hiring, and retention. Companies are now considering candidates from different locations, offering more part-time and contract positions, and embracing diversity and inclusion in their workforce.

In fact, according to a study by Mercer’s Global Talent Trends (GTT) Study 2023, more than 1,020 HR leaders in Asia who were involved in the survey, 53% indicate improving workforce planning in 2023 and offering work flexibility as one of the needs that employers in Asia to consider offering.

To support this new normal, HR professionals need to adapt their practices and policies. They need to create a culture of trust and accountability, provide the necessary tools and resources for remote work, and ensure that employees have the right skills and training to succeed in a flexible work environment.

As a matter of fact, organisation embracing flexible workforce are able:

Increased access to talent

With a distributed workforce, companies can access top talent from across the globe. This helps organizations to diversify their skillsets and bring in employees with different perspectives, resulting in more innovative and effective work output.

Cost savings

Distributed teams can save costs associated with maintaining a physical office space, including rent, utilities, and maintenance. This can be particularly useful for start-ups and small businesses that need to manage budgets judiciously without compromising on efficiency.

Flexibility and work-life balance

Remote work offers flexibility to employees, which can lead to a better work-life balance. This can result in increased job satisfaction and higher employee retention rates.

Effective communication

To ensure seamless collaboration and smooth project execution, organizations must establish clear communication channels and protocols. Managers should encourage regular check-ins and updates, while employees should be comfortable discussing issues and clarifying doubts. Enterprise communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom can facilitate this process.

Set clear expectations

Managers should articulate clear expectations with their team members, describing the specific tasks, deadlines and KPIs. This helps to establish accountability and keep employees motivated.

As businesses continue to embrace remote work, understanding the benefits and challenges of a distributed workforce will help organizations adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving marketplace. With the right strategies in place, companies can unleash the true potential of a distributed workforce and achieve greater organizational success.


The following piece is not out of a Management Textbook, but rather the result of the cumulative years of experience of a few consultants working with companies trying to improve their work practices

There is a saying – using the same solution for the same problem is a sign of idiocy. We see this all the time, especially in government applications, such as printing more money trying to get out of the hole but creating a bigger problem. We often see this in business where managers use the same solution for different kinds of problems. When you are allocating time and human resources to solve a problem, why not use the same time and meeting to aspire towards a more innovative solution.

It is easy, because it is only a matter of asking a different question, such as “Why do you want to make this decision?” For example, you are considering buying a new car and when I ask you.

“Why do you want to do that?” it might sound like a senseless question, but your answer is

“I need to have transport getting to work on a daily basis.”

So, why are you not rather considering deciding on “Find the best way to get to work”. Your answer might still be to buy a new car, but you might just find a more innovative solution for the same time and effort.

Imagine the time, money and other resources wasted having multiple meetings, re-forming your decision, not having any buy-in from staff and having to make yet another decision on the same issue before long. As consultants we are conscious of the following behaviors that could cost a lot of time and effort in an economic environment where we really cannot afford it.

  • Finding a solution for the effects instead of its underlying cause/reason. It is much cheaper, quicker, and more acceptable for all to find a solution for the underlying cause of the effects.

  • Collaborate with the correct stakeholders from the outset. It is much cheaper having their buy-in from the outset in the decision-making process.

  • Engage the most appropriate information resources. Don’t settle for “stand-ins” and ensure you get your facts from the best qualified people

Follow an innovative decision-making process so that participation is orderly and logical for all. Normally we use functional analysis whereby we break down the decision component(s) into its most basic function (going back to the original concept) and then looking at ways of doing it differently.

Client Success Story

A fossil fuel power station was getting to the end of its lifecycle, and they wanted to extend the life of the facility by at least another 10 years (LifeX). The Engineering Team had already outdone themselves by finding a way to strip all the interior piping, electricals, and other maintenance items and re-purpose and rebuild using the existing concrete structures.

About three weeks into LifeX they hit a bottleneck, as there was only one elevator going up 10 stories. It was going too slow, and they needed to speed up the daily volume.

The basic requirement was they needed more volume capacity. They looked at many options but could not find an acceptable one. We asked a few questions and they decided they need to find a way to bring more materials up and down without affecting the other LifeX operations. After some discussion they decided to create another door opening through the one-meter concrete wall and install a high-capacity temporary elevator on the outside of the concrete structure. This action was cost effective and quick and saved them at least three weeks’ work.


Updated: Mar 3

The following piece is not out of a Management Textbook, but rather the result of the cumulative years of experience of a few consultants working with companies trying to improve their work practices

One of the most common organizational challenges we’ve experienced is the practice of finding true causes. This deep-rooted problem is embedded in the incorrect ways organizations are defining a root cause versus a technical cause. Root cause identification is about finding “What happened, how it happened, and why it happened” in that specific order.

You cannot identify how something happened unless you know what happened and similarly you cannot identify why it happened unless you know how it happened or at least what happened. Once you understand this, you can make good progress in identifying the root cause quickly and accurately with a permanent solution. What happened is the most neglected part of this equation as this is the correct starting point for your analysis. No wonder so many teams are resorting to “trial and error” practices, because they really have not established what the problem is.

Let’s take an example – The New York hub is experiencing the dropping out of website connections but nobody else in their Global Company is experiencing this fault. If you are looking at possible causes at this stage without understanding the dropping out situation you might attempt many “trial and error” solutions with a very poor success rate. If you were to stand back for a few minutes, review and consider the facts would allow you to understand exactly WHAT happened.




WHAT happened

ABC Router dropping out

Finding the WHAT will get you to describe the problem more accurately

HOW it happened

Dropping out is due to increased volume beyond the threshold

When you know the HOW you can remove the limitation to restore functionality. You would also be able to take AVOIDING actions to avoid recurrence. This normally refers to an event in time! (We refer to this as the TECHNICAL CAUSE)

WHY it happened

The router specs are inadequate for volume spikes

This normally points to the root cause, which would be a “condition that exists”. You need to fix the router situation in such a way that it would be able to handle the increase in volume spikes!

How do we do this in our own work environments? Someone needs to take the lead (when our consultants are involved, we normally perform this in a facilitation function) and to ensure we have the correct WHAT happened facts to get the most informed and involved sources to contribute. Employ a repeatable deliberate approach (framework with a process) to gather the correct verified data to answer the questions for HOW it happened and WHY it happened.

Client Success Story

An international banking IT team had a problem with the slow performance of a trading website for the last 6 days. They had the best minds, mostly directors, which we believe are too far removed from the problem to be of any use. They were trying to resolve the “SLOW PERFORMANCE OF THE WEBSITE”, which resulted in many trial and error actions without success.

We got involved and wanted to know the facts of what was actually happening, and what was not supposed to happen. After going into the logs, we noticed that a particular type of trading transaction was entered and did not execute. We settled on the description “Futures transactions not executing”. The team took immediate action to circumvent this fault and restored the functionality of futures trading. However, we still had to solve the WHY or the root cause. The team overcame the immediate problem with an interim action and now had more time to get to the bottom by finding the company condition that caused the problem in the first place.

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