At Rhythm Systems, some of our team works in the office, but most of us work remotely. As an office worker with the flexibility to work remotely on occasion, I can appreciate the challenge of both settings. In the office, you’ve got the drive by “Do you have a minute?” conversations and the typical water cooler chat that can be distractions, and at home, you’ve got the temptations of family members, pets, domestic work, and your favorite TV show on Netflix vying for your attention. So, which is better?
Rhythm Blog | Jessica Wishart
by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team
Measuring the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is vital to the health and success of your business. However, when we onboard new clients, we find that some of them are uncertain about what they should be measuring and how they can use these powerful tools.
KPIs are more than numbers you report out weekly - they enable you to understand the performance and health of your business so that you can make critical adjustments in your execution to achieve your strategic goals. Knowing and measuring the right KPIs will help you achieve results faster.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Tom Hoff, Gallup's Southeast business development leader, speak on employee engagement. He shared some stats from the most recent State of the American Workplace Report that would make any leader sit up and pay attention. Thankfully, he also shared some tips for taking action to help leaders and managers improve employee engagement so you can be on the right side of those stats.
According to the recent Deloitte Mid-Market Technology Survey, “Mid-market companies are starting to look beyond immediate needs toward a future where technology plays a much greater role in just about every aspect of their business.” And, one of the hottest trends in technology these days is artificial intelligence (AI). And, before you panic, I’m not talking about robots making coffee or answering phone calls; many companies are already using AI capabilities in far more subtle and interesting ways. According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, the most common business application for AI is "detecting and fending off computer security intrusions in the IT department.” Other common uses include resolving users’ tech issues, gauging internal compliance, anticipating future customer purchases, monitoring social media, tailoring promotions, and financial trading.
Anyone who has ever had to work in a freezing office, gotten stuck doing a conference call from a busy airport or coffee shop, or sat at a dark desk buried under a mountain of paperwork knows that your physical environment can have a major impact on your job performance and productivity.
Here are some considerations for designing your most productive office space:
The topic of women in the workplace can be a bit controversial, and sometimes emotional. While there is undoubtedly a pay gap in the American workforce, with women making about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes in the same job, and a gap in women in leadership roles compared to men in those senior positions, people disagree over the reasons for those gaps. Is it that women don’t put in as many hours because they are also primary caretakers at home? Is it because they don’t want to be at work, or because they don’t have the desire to take on more leadership roles? Or is it because of unconscious bias in the workplace that doesn’t allow for as many opportunities for their advancement? Just about anyone you’d ask would have a different answer.
Imagine this - over a year ago, I raise my hand after our company Annual Planning session and volunteer to help with a major project our company was taking on. We set out to write a book of case studies where each consultant would write a chapter featuring one of their clients and how they were using Rhythm to achieve success in their company. When I raised my hand in that meeting, I couldn’t have imagined how complex it would turn out to be to manage a book with 9 authors, 11 clients, editors, publishers, and stakeholders in our sales and marketing team to please. Without the help of an awesome project management tool, I don’t think we ever would have gotten this project done.
While Rhythm is primarily a tool for managing large scale, strategic initiatives, the enhanced features in Rhythm 4.0 make it a great tool for project management, too. I know first hand because this is the tool that I used to manage our very complex book project.
While women have been making huge strides in the workplace, we still have a long way to go before women are well-represented at the highest levels of most organizations. "According to a survey of top leaders from mid-market businesses throughout the U.S., only 22% of senior managers in 2014 were women” (Pew Research Center). I’ve been excited to learn that many of our clients are actively pursuing strategies to promote women in leadership in their organizations; some have formed lunch groups for women throughout the organization to network and mentor one another, and others have HR initiatives aimed at developing leadership programs specifically for women.
As head of training at Rhythm Systems, I’ve had a busy year creating all the training content to accompany our latest software release - Rhythm 4.0. We’ve got two great online learning platforms for clients, Rhythm Certification and Rhythm University. As part of updating our content to bring the latest and greatest information to our clients, I also did some research about online learning in general. For those of us used to the more traditional classroom learning environment, shifting into the online learning landscape requires a bit of a paradigm shift.
Bloomberg recently published an article touting the benefits of “Summer Fridays” - “It’s a cheap and easy way to keep employees happy, since no one is really working then anyway.” Workplace flexibility - like the ability to head to the beach instead of to the office on a hot summer Friday - is one way companies are competing to attract top talent.
And, they are on to something - flexible work schedules are becoming more important not just for attracting, but also for keeping Millennials and women engaged and productive. According to a Gallup study, flexible work schedules result in higher levels of well-being and employee engagement.