As the end of the year approaches, it’s always a good time to reflect and do an autonomy audit in your own office. Most talented technical professionals appreciate company cultures that foster a sense of independence. But, the importance of independence for your technical team goes beyond a general sense of appreciation, it has many other benefits too. Here are 5 ways that flexibility and autonomy can improve your technical team and your company as a whole.
1. Lengthen Tenure: When you have a company culture that fosters a sense of independence, you’re going to lengthen employee tenure. Why? Because most technical professionals are looking for more independence at work and, if they can’t find it at your organization, they’ll start looking elsewhere.
2. You’ll Hear the Best Ideas for Improvements and New Technologies: Independent spirits are often the ones who are constantly looking for new ways to improve themselves and the projects they’re looking on without prompting. These self-driven technical talents will contribute great ideas for project improvements and, when you give them the sense of independence they need, you’ll hear these great ideas more often! Plus, the more independence they have to pursue new technical knowledge, the more likely they are to suggest new technologies that can be used to improve future or current projects and really make them pop. If you want cutting-edge results, you need to foster a sense of independence in your technical team!
3. Hands Off Managers Have More Time for Other Important Things: When you have a manager who is micromanaging, they’re not just hovering uncomfortably over your technical professionals, who would prefer more independence as they work, they’re also wasting a lot of their own time. This is time that could be better spent on big picture ideas, overall business strategy, or planning future projects. When you increase the independence of your technical team, you also free up the time of a former micromanager so they can spend it on other, more important tasks.
4. They’ll Follow Their Technical Curiosity to New Heights: When you increase the independence of your technical team, they’ll feel more able to pursue technical curiosities and find new ways to solve complex problems. They’ll also feel free to learn a few more out of the box technologies or methods in their free time and implement them on the job, which could result in projects that far exceed your expectations. Cutting-edge results stem from autonomy and independence.
5. Establish an Invaluable Sense of Trust: One of the most important things in a relationship is trust, and the same applies to professional relationships. If you can trust your employees to get their work done come rain or shine, your company will run like a well oiled machine and reach new levels of success. Similarly, when your technical employees feel like you trust them, they’ll feel more job satisfaction and will be less likely to jump ship for the first shiny job opportunity they notice in their periphery.
Now that you know several of the advantages independence brings, it’s time to consider implementing more independence for your technical team. There are a wide variety of professional cultures, but the following 6 tried-and-true forms of independence can be mixed and matched until you find the perfect fit for your organization. Or, you could implement them all and watch your technical team soar thanks to a new sense of autonomy and freedom in the workplace!
1. Flexible Schedules: One of the easiest ways to increase your technical team’s independence is to allow more flexibility in their schedules. Whether this comes from perks like flextime or the ability to work longer shifts four days a week and take off on Friday, this customization of their time will allow your technical professionals the freedom they want and help them get better at self-motivating because they’ll value the ability to get their work done according to their preferred schedule (while still meeting deadlines, of course).
2. Time to Work on Side Projects: Some companies offer their technical professionals a little time once a week to work on their side projects in the office. For technical professionals who work hard and pursue side projects as a way of learning new technologies, this is a great idea. Plus, the freedom to do a little bit of this side project work at the office will also increase their rest and relaxation time on the weekends, allowing them to arrive at the office every Monday morning refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle the workweek.
3. Open Door Policy for New Ideas: If you want your employees to feel like you trust and value your ideas, implement an open door policy for new ideas. When your technical professionals feel like they can come up with ideas independently and share those with upper management directly, they’ll feel empowered to participate and contribute more during each and every project, which will result in projects and products that exceed your expectations.
4. Say Goodbye to the Micromanagers: It’s time to say so long and farewell to the micromanagers in your office, or at least encourage them to change up their management style. Why? Because micromanagement hampers all autonomy and independence, which is a real bummer for technical professionals and will send them packing at alarmingly fast rates.
5. Work From Home: The ultimate form of independence is the ability to work from home. If you want your technical team to have a little more independence than they currently do, consider offering partial telecommuting once or twice a week. They can avoid fighting rush hour traffic, work from the comfort of their own homes, and feel truly valued and trusted all at the same time.
Foster a sense of autonomy, lengthen employee tenure, and so much more by implementing an increased sense of independence across the board in your company. Your talented technical employees will thank you!