Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Workplace 2.0 here we come!

My cool new title at ATB Investor Services is ‘Head of Talent and Story’. What this really means is I lead the Human Resources department in developing innovative talent and communications strategies in support of a rapidly growing wealth management firm. We attract exceptional employees and set them up for professional success and longevity. We guide them to become masters through extraordinary leadership, training and coaching, by providing industry-leading and innovative professional programs and tools. We also create the ATBIS story in a way that is relevant to both our associates and our clients. Needless to say, my role is incredibly diverse and very exciting. And even better, I can do it on MY time.

People ask me all the time, how I can ‘work from home’ in my role... I don’t. I work anywhere, anytime, not just from home. Then I have to explain that almost any role, YES even senior leadership roles, can work from anywhere, any time. As long as you have brilliant technology, clear purpose and a view of the results you need to accomplish, and by when.

This is typically referred to as ‘work-life balance’. Let me be honest, this is one of my favorite topics, as my response is that ATB has a flexible workplace, NOT work-life balance... Dramatic pause..... That would imply the company owns my time - which is not the case! I own every hour of every day. I choose what hours I need to work to get the results I am accountable for. In today’s society this is difficult to wrap your mind around, but I can guarantee it’s the future.

The easiest way to explain is to give an example:

When I first started at ATB Investor Services, I remember asking my leader, Sheldon Dyck, if I could leave early on a Wednesday to go to a doctors’ appointment. I remember explaining that I tried to get the appointment for non-work hours, but cold not and that I would make the time up. He looked at me with total amazement. He asked me when he and I had ever agreed on formal work hours. I had to think about this, ummm, well we hadn't. I was just working on approved protocol from my last company. Then he asked me if I could still get everything done I needed too, without making up hours. Again, umm, well of course I could!

He then explained to me, "you, and only you, own your time. You are a professional with clear objectives. You can work when you want, where you want, how you want, as long as the work gets done.”  Do you know how long I had been asking for permission to go to doctors’ appointments, dentist appointments, gosh even to have vacation time? YEARS!

It actually took me at least a year before I stopped feeling guilty when I wasn't working at my official office location.

Fast forward 6 years, a book comes across my desk called "Why Work Sucks" by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. I almost fell off my chair as i started to read, it was exactly what Sheldon had taught me years ago. Around the same time Sheldon challenged our entire division to take it one step further. It's one thing to work any where, any time, but can we do that and actually reduce our carbon and facilities footprint?

After a rocky, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attempt with my own team, I am proud to say today we officially launched our Workplace 2.0 pilot.

I had so many learning’s from my own terrible attempt at doing this a few months ago, and now there will be brilliant idea's and take-aways from a well thought-out pilot. I want to share the good, the bad and the ugly with other like-minded people thinking about doing this in their organizations.

So my next post will be about all the crazy things I did wrong, or Sherri's Top 10 Do Not Do's when moving to a flexible work place.

Just as a cool FYI, I wrote this entire post on my ipad, while sitting on my bed, rubbing my son's back to help him fall asleep! I really mean any place, any time don't I? 

Ta ta!


  1. Great blog! I remember four years ago my boss told I was a professional, and as a professional, I was responsible enough to decide what I needed to do with my time, even during work hours! It made going to the dentist that much easier! Love that boss! :)

  2. Fantastic…you are absolutely right. It is not about balance but all about flexibility. I always say that we, as human beings, are not designed to sit at a desk 8 hours a day. How can we possibly do our best work if confined to doing what is contrary to our well being?
    I look forward to your top 10 list and perhaps some photos of you doing yoga while typing on your ipad!