Autonomous workplace – the one that lets you freely decide when, where and how you want to work. Fantasy? No, a dream coming true. Freedom at its finest. A job where you feel relaxed and stress-free. Whoa, wait, how is that even possible?
What is an autonomous workplace?
To clarify autonomous workplace first and foremost we should explain the word autonomy.
Autonomy is a self-directing freedom. It is the right to be independent and govern itself.
Everyone can choose how they want to work and when.
Autonomous workplace is one where everyone can actively participate in the creation of the company and the direction of it. Their ideas are being heard and their opinions do matter. Oh yes.
Such work environments give its employees the power and possibility to create their own work methods, practices, processes and set their own goals. They can create a work environment that suits them and not just be forced to listen to the boss's demands.
However it is not a workplace where the manager puts all the work on the backs of his employees and doesn't care about them. Even at an autonomous workplace the team leader should always come and talk daily to his colleagues – Yet not to control them, but to know what their current needs are. The best leader is the one that can carefully listen to his teammates. Such company culture should be applied even by upper management of the company.
Autonomous workplaces are those that offer employees freedom in shaping their work environment and as a staff member, you can make your own decisions. Many organizations have turned to public cloud storage providers to facilitate the seamless sharing of documents and data, allowing team members to access what they need, when they need it.
It is not science fiction. If you want a successful company, let this be your reality. No more time to be wasted, start today with the creation of an autonomous work environment.
Keep in mind, while autonomy gives you freedom to your work, you also have the moral responsibility for the results and actions. This comes hand in hand with taking responsibility for your decisions.
Why is autonomy at work important?
Happy employees = happy customers = successful company.
It all comes down to psychology. Autonomy is about trust. Trust with an employee. Team members who know their boss believes in their abilities will be much more confident and satisfied at work.
Wouldn't it be magnificent to have happier employees that are highly-motivated and satisfied?
Who can deliver their work on time and are able to manage themselves effectively?
Now, that is a vision. To achieve that, trust in the power and skills of your team members.
Employees are the most important part of your company. Cherish them and realize they have needs as individuals. Let them work for their own goals in addition to the company's goals.Let them grow as human beings. When you engage your workers and allow them to work autonomously they will just blossom. Autonomy leads to better performance and overall better company culture.
How does workplace autonomy look like?
Without being controlled by anyone else, team members can organize their own activities. Autonomous workplace gives everyone a say in setting deadlines, offers remote or hybrid work arrangements. It embraces the idea that team members can be productive no matter when and where they work. Workplace flexibility takes into account people's individual needs and supports work-life balance by letting everyone set their own schedule. Everyone has a free hand in designing their own processes for completing tasks and projects.
Job autonomy is also about giving opportunities to your staff members. In this way they can show you what they are capable of and what potential lies inside of them.
Benefits of autonomous workplace
Let's look at real examples. Anne M.Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox, was a leader whose approach to leading people used elements of authentic leadership theory, with leaders who are honest, open, "real,” and trustworthy. This can only have the most positive impact on an organization.
She said that: „Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee - are more productive, more satisfied and more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.“
There are number of other benefits to autonomous workplaces:
By honoring your workers they will blossom and grow not just as individuals but as a team too. 2-in-1. Win-win situation. To have team members as productive as possible, they have to feel their work is appreciated and valued. That their work is meaningful and has a purpose.
Team members that view their work as fulfilling and purposeful will be more motivated and encouraged to do it and finish it. People perform better when they are relaxed.
Team members are free and relaxed to express their opinions because they have a certainty no one will judge them. Creativity has no burdens and limits.
When team members know that their team leader believes in their skills they gain a healthy self confidence and determination. What more than a determined and confident team could the boss want?
Team members work harder when they are better recognized – acknowledge the abilities and achievements of your team members. Recognize the talent in them, and give them positive feedback.
Less management tasks, more time – when your team members learn how to set their priorities on their own, you as a team leader save so much time. Your brain is no longer occupied with a thousand thoughts. Lovely.
Minimum supervision, maximum results – no one likes someone standing behind their shoulder and checking everything they do. Allow your team members greater flexibility. A satisfied employee will be definitely more productive than an unsatisfied one.
Less likely to burnout - employee autonomy can work perfectly in a remote environment. It is much more beneficial when everyone has a free hand in deciding whether to work in the office or at home than when they are told to only work in the office. At home they can be more relaxed, feel less stressed, and there are no disturbances from the environment, e.g. your colleague ´s constant typing on the keyboard or loud brainstorming. When team members stay at home they have much more energy because they are not tired from early wakeup, angry from morning traffic and they don't have to rush to get to work on time. Team members that are not stressed will have more ideas and be more productive. Waking up early every morning, high expectations of your boss and fast paced life can lead to burnout of your team members. It is good to slow things down from time to time and let your workers exhale.
Better working atmosphere – when you give your team autonomy, they will feel less pressured because they know that you believe in them and their capabilities.
Continuous learning – when team members have to self-manage themselves, they constantly improve not just internally as individuals but they also upgrade a company. Inner development and personal growth of every team member is directly connected to the success of a whole team.
Examples of autonomy in the workplace
Steve Jobs once said: „It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.“
What companies use autonomy in real life? Companies such as Google or Facebook have adopted this method.
These organizations have decided to provide autonomy to their employees because they believe it creates a better environment where they feel happier and valued.
How do they do it?
It is pretty simple and effective: Someone who works at Google is expected to understand what the corporate objectives are and figure out how they can contribute. After companies' objectives are set, every one of the 38,000 members of staff will set their own OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) which means they will determine what they will be doing for the quarter.
Facebook is also a fan of employees autonomy. They follow a Self-Determination Theory which says autonomy is one of our instinctive psychological needs: „Conditions supporting the individual’s experience of autonomy, competence, and relatedness foster the most volitional and high quality forms of motivation and engagement for activities, including enhanced performance, persistence, and creativity.“
How to establish an autonomous workplace
First of all, change the way you think about organizations currently.
Secondly, keep in mind that autonomy develops gradually. Even human development happened in stages, not from day to day.
Start incorporating a few changes and continue progressively. Divide your goals into stages. Start with the degree of autonomy you and your team members are comfortable with. It takes some time to get accustomed to changes. But you are able to, and soon will do it as masters!
Start with examination of your present work environment. How much autonomy over tasks and time do your team members have now? Continue with other aspects, such as do your team members have an option to choose with whom they work?
Find out your employee expectations. What level of autonomy are they comfortable with? Effective autonomy at the workplace requires clear and concrete autonomous workplace communication where both sides – the manager and the team members know what to do and what is expected from them.
When you want to switch from an ineffective and harmful micromanagement system to an autonomous workplace environment, start incorporating some steps every day. Set a long enough time frame for you and your team to get used to a new style of work.
Carson Tate, Employee Engagement Expert, says three approaches are essential:
„Avoid the temptation to make assumptions about your team member´s autonomy needs.
Invest the time to understand each of your employees´ desires and partner with them to design a mutually beneficial work environment that enables everyone to achieve their goals.
Empower your staff to be active creators and designers of their professional experience and unleash their intrinsic need to be autonomous.“
Your employees can be autonomous with shaping their work in three areas:
Tasks area – team members can adjust the range or nature of assignments or take on extra duties.
Ask all the members of your team following questions:
What job duty could you modify in order to use your strengths more fully and add more meaning and autonomy to your work?
What strengths are you not using that you could or want to use to unlock more importance in your work?
Relationships area – team members make some adjustments to their professional relationships. They either modify the extent or nature of the connections to their colleagues or develop and build new relationships.
These questions are useful to ask your staff:
Who do you want to connect with to create opportunities for more significance in your work?
Who do you want to connect with who has a skill you would like to develop?
Who is holding a position in a company you want to have? You can connect and learn a lot from one another.
Intrapersonal area – is about making internal psychological changes in the mind of each team member. Team members change perceptions of the job. They redefine what they see as the nature of their duties or relationships connected with their job. They reframe the view of their job to see it as a meaningful whole that positively impacts others rather than a collection of separate tasks.
For you employees – write into a diary your own progress. What were you able to achieve during your week? What problems and obstacles were you facing? What victories can you be proud of? Don´t be too tough on yourself, you deserve to be complimented. Come on, celebrate your successes, you are an amazing intelligent human being full of potential! Lift yourself up every day. Help your own confidence to grow, you will feel amazing when you tell yourself – I did a great job!
It will require you to learn a few skills.
Primarily it is the ability to take initiative, accountability for the results, the ability to make decisions and to create a suitable work environment. Don´t be demotivated or discouraged when you are not on an expert level from the beginning. Have a little patience, practice makes perfect. Reflecting your work in a diary, you can use free online tools like Ayanza that gets most of the reflecting work done for you. The best thing about diaries is that you can get back to your notes later and see your progress.
Assess your skills – what are your strengths and what do you consider to be your weaknesses? Self-evaluation in autonomous workplaces is very important. Identify the areas in which you want to improve your skills and get better.
For you employers – Be their helping hand and guideline, not their commander. Make sure they understand what your expectations are. Have you talked to your team members today? Do they feel heard? Everyone loves to feel important and cared about. Honor your team members.
Support the team members' own strengths by positive feedback and when setting their own realistic goals and implementing them. As a leader, lead by example.
Motivate your team – when people are motivated, they perform their work with much more effort and quality.
Give your team members materials, advice and constructive feedback – when they need you, be there and offer everything that could help them reach their goals quicker and easier.
Develop leaders - work on leadership skills of your team members – like open communication, relationship building, innovation, creativity and critical thinking.
Do not put too much pressure on your teammates – make your team members feel comfortable around you. As a manager you should make them feel empowered and cheer them up as well not humiliate or punish them for their mistakes. Mistakes are welcomed because they help the whole team to learn and grow.
Reinforce the courage and stamina of your team members - The teacher opens the door, it is the student that has to enter. You are the teacher. When you give your team members the gift of freedom, they can show you what lies inside of them. Identify their potential. Sometimes people are too afraid or shy to express themselves. As a team leader you are not getting rid of all the responsibility and telling them - do what you want, I don´t care. Each team member has to see that you care about their well being and life. Give them the space to show their true power and abilities. Your colleagues will be more relaxed and you will catch them smiling. What you can bring is encouragement when obstacles arise and support them when facing challenges.
Invest in your team – whether it is education, courses, books or tools. Let your team members know that you want to raise the level of your business as well as raise the levels of their skills.
Encouraging autonomous workplace with Ayanza
This new model of operating your workplace can bring you a whole new valuable perspective into how things can be done more effectively. Use communication systems that work wonders like Ayanza. This is the right place where each member can participate, collaborate and have their own space. Not only can this bring personal achievement to you but also to your whole team. You can have an accurate overview of your team in the news feed section. See what everyone else is doing and working on. No need to go ask anyone, everything is at your fingertips.
Sharing on a whole new level - communication between teams becomes clearer, more open and you learn new things about your colleagues. Everyone can share their thoughts and feelings with no judgment. Ayanza’s AI knowledge management system allows you to gather all company knowledge under one roof, so your team can access any information anywhere, anytime.
For an autonomous workplace a key skill to work on is self-management. Ayanza’s AI task manager shows you how to set your tasks effectively to always finish them and organize them easily. All tasks are stored in one place. You have access to your own tasks as well as other teams´ tasks. Therefore everyone is informed and no miscommunication happens. You can personalize your tasks to suit your needs the best. Remember, tasks that are in order are more likely to be completed.
Have troubles with setting your tasks, strategy or goals? No worries, use our AI that has answers for all your questions. With countless tasks waiting it is useful to save your time and use AI that will simplify your life and enlighten your brain.
With Ayanza you can share your ideas and progress regularly using Rhythms. That is why Ayanza is a full package management tool that is very helpful for identifying issues in work or in professional relationships.
But what exactly are rhythms? Rhythms are a magical part of Ayanza we adore the most, and you will too. By keeping your thoughts organized, they are like your own digital diary. Since Ayanza is also a daily standup software, it can help you prepare for your day in the morning with Daily Standup. Daily standup will wake you up immediately. You will figure out what is your priority for the day and sort out your thoughts. Weekly vision, as the name suggests, is a place where you can think about your upcoming week and prepare for tasks that you want to get done. Ayanza gives you a hint with questions such as Where do I stand right now? What positive changes would I like to achieve this week?
With Gratitude rhythm, you can express appreciation to your colleagues and what you cherish about them. This builds stronger and better relationships in your team. People love a friendly work environment. We all wish our effort to be recognized. What's more, team members that feel valued have more loyalty to the company. This can all be achieved with a Gratitude rhythm in Ayanza.
This will surely boost your energy up. When you think of good experiences, it makes you feel more positive and creates feelings of happiness. It is also said to improve mental health and reduce levels of stress. That's what we all want, don't we?
As leaders, be patient with your team,it will take some time for them to practice new skills needed to be autonomous. Environment with higher employee engagement that supports individual employees can surely have higher levels of success. Just let some autonomy culture inside of your business and see for yourself. Management systems that rely on their team members and build a culture of trust have a positive effect on employee motivation and can result in higher team effectiveness. Remember team members appreciate freedom over control. If you want to see the progress of your team without tearing their focus apart with calls, emails or having to come to their office, use online tools like Ayanza, where you can see what every member of your team is working on. Tasks are clearly organized, and you have an overview of where the work is heading.
What does autonomy in a job mean?
For employees, it means having the possibility to shape their work environment. Not to be mistaken, autonomous employees are not those who never ask for help, isolate from the team or slack off. Autonomy comes with accountability. Plus, team autonomy can also lead to cost savings.
How to make employees feel autonomous?
Allow them to have the freedom in how they schedule their time as well as choosing in which order they do the tasks. Ask them about their opinions. Be a leader and have effective communication, specifically be an attentive listener, build a positive work environment and improve human relationships.
How can Ayanza help to reach an autonomous workplace?
Ayanza helps you grow as an individual in your personal life and in work life as well. Your team will feel super empowered and highly accomplished. To achieve a productive work environment make psychological well-being and good mental health of your team members your priority. While using Ayanza you can have an overview of your team members´ day-to-day life, their thoughts and sorrows. Always the latest and fastest information from the office on the reach of your hand. Knowing what your teammates are going through will make you more understanding, empathetic and just the best leader ever. Epic.