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Workplaces worldwide are in a state of flux. Employees are clamoring for empowerment and freedom while management are struggling to keep a balance between discipline and workplace rights. All the time, management control is imperative for productivity and profitability.
Workplace research has revealed that workers who feel they are free to make choices in the workplace and given accountability are happier and more productive than employees who are more restricted. The problem, however, is that there is no universal cross-cultural and transnational definition of autonomy.
With the workplace constantly evolving and globalization increasingly important, cross-cultural research into workplace autonomy is more important than ever. Freedom for employees changes from one context to another and has to be carefully defined to prevent abuse.
There is nothing that makes one happier than the sense of freedom – the freedom to flex work hours to accommodate family life while still meeting organizational goals; the freedom to air new ideas or opposing viewpoints with the management; the freedom to do things differently; the freedom to have a healthy work-life balance.
In the Middle East, however, where management deal with expatriate workforce, employee freedom and flexibility have to be subject to certain checks and balances.
One giant search engine company, for example, offers a casual and easy work culture for its employees. It provides an environment without hierarchy and restriction, thereby giving abundant freedom to employees who become self-motivated and passionate about coming out with innovative products which have a bearing on people's lives.
It is, thus, important to define employee freedom in different contexts and implement it for better profitability.
• Workplace freedom must be carefully defined, implemented
• Employees in a fun atmosphere come up with brighter ideas
• They are happier, perform better when given accountability
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Source: Debasree Banerjee, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Corporate Communications Manager, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai