Due to the increasing availability of AI and automated processes, employees have more time than ever to focus on creative tasks and big-picture projects. But this will only work if they have workplace autonomy. We take a look at what workplace autonomy is and explore the vital relationship between autonomy and job satisfaction.
What is workplace autonomy?
Autonomy in the workplace means how much choice and freedom an employee has whilst working. For example, workplace autonomy could refer to employees setting their own hours or choosing how they complete a task. The higher level of autonomy an employee is given, the greater responsibility they have. For this reason, autonomy has been shown to have a strong connection to job satisfaction and employee wellbeing, as employees feel valued and respected by a company when they are given more trust and responsibility.
How does autonomy improve job satisfaction?
1. Improved work/life balance
Job autonomy revolutionises the traditional 9-5 and encourages employees to make their own schedule. Instead of working a set number of hours per week, in an autonomous workplace, an employee can work the hours they choose, providing they finish all of their duties and tasks on time. This will allow employees to plan their personal lives around their work much more effectively, especially around childcare, travelling, and hobbies. This will also benefit employees who find they are more productive at different times of the day, as well as businesses who operate a global team who are based in different time zones.
Greater employee autonomy will help improve work/life balance
2. Greater accountability
Job autonomy encourages employees to be more accountable for their actions and decisions, keeping them focused and more detail-orientated. This will help to improve productivity within a business and give employees a greater sense of pride when they finish a project.
3. Focus on individuality
No employee likes to be treated as just another number. Job autonomy ensures individuals feel more valued as they are given more control and choice regarding their work. This has a knock-on effect of reducing turnover, as employees feel more satisfied and valued in their job role. Employees may also be inspired to learn new skills; having ownership of their work will give them the confidence to put new skills into practice.
4. Improves collaboration
Historically, tasks were always delegated based on job role or job title. While this may sound effective in theory, taking a team autonomy approach to project work will be much more productive, because staff can share tasks between themselves based on passion, experience, and skill. Project management software will help add direction to the group and keep the team on schedule, as well as provide collaboration areas for remote teams to share ideas.
Set up discussion areas in your project management software to encourage collaboration
5. Better working relationships
Autonomy is not only important for entry-level employees and team members, but it is also important for those in management or leadership positions. For example, leaders who manage a remote team can give their staff the autonomy to manage their own working hours, but request that they attend weekly video calls to check in. Workplace autonomy will allow managers to adapt their management styles to ensure each and every team member feels supported and valued.