Why Should You Encourage Workplace Autonomy?

It’s easy to dismiss workplace autonomy as another one of those buzzwords in the human resources field. However, with more and more companies adopting it, it’s clear that it’s not just some trend. In this article, we’ll discuss why workplace autonomy matters.

Defining Workplace Autonomy

Essentially, workplace autonomy means creating an environment where employees can make a number of work-related decisions on their own. This may mean having enough freedom to choose where and when they want to work, or even what tasks or projects to take on. This is a stark departure from traditional office set-ups of the past, where employees are just assigned tasks to complete and deadlines to meet.

Of course, this conventional, old-fashioned approach has led to some issues such as micromanagement, which can often negatively influence the confidence and leadership potential of lower-rung employees. This is why many organizations are now implementing different degrees of workplace autonomy, as studies have shown they can improve employee engagement and satisfaction.

How to Encourage Autonomy in the Workplace

Now that we’ve seen the benefits of expanding autonomy in the workplace, here are some concrete steps that you can take to introduce this concept to the office.

  1. Create a framework for autonomy
    Making your office autonomousisn’t as simple as just setting a goal and expecting everyone in your organization to start working towards it. You will still need to have a framework—a collection of policies set in place—to guide your employees. Without these guidelines, your workers may have different interpretations of workplace autonomy; this may lead to misunderstanding and conflict.
  2. Offeradditional rewards or avenues for improvement

Even if employees have the freedom to work whenever or wherever they want, if they’re stuck doing the same thing day in and day out, they may eventually leave. That’s why it’s important to still offer them rewards for meeting or exceeding targets or add training modules they can take on their own to broaden their skillset. And to make redemption of these rewards easy, make sure to set up a smart and intuitiveemployee incentive platform so that even those working off-site can request for these rewards.

  1. Encourage leadership
    While employees are encouraged to work autonomously, this doesn’t mean working individually. Leadership is still needed, especially if you need an entire team to take on big projects and need someone to manage it. Hence, you still have to make sure there are paths to leadership positions in your framework for workplace autonomy—and make sure to open them to worthy employees.
  2. Take baby steps

Implementing workplace autonomy is not something you can do overnight. Other than crafting a framework, you will need to set aside some time to orient your employees about the new policies set in place. And you may even encounter some problems about the new policies. That’s why it’s best to roll out these policies one-by-one so that your workers don’t get easily confused oroverwhelmed by the changes.

As these tips show, implementing workplace autonomy need not be complicated. With the right amount of planning and an ample amount of time, you can be well on your way to form an organization with an autonomous yet high-performing workforce.


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