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Aces Technique for Decision Making

ACES Summary

Individuals and businesses can benefit from the decision-making tool known as ACES (Assumptions, Criteria, Evoked Set/Existing Options, and Strategy). The four worksheets in this method walk the user through recognizing assumptions, establishing criteria for the decision, whittling down the pool of potential solutions, and formulating a plan of action. The ACES technique is a decision-making aid that encourages people to question preconceived notions, swap the relative importance of criterion items, broaden their evoked set, and examine the outcomes of various options. Alternatives, Consequences, Evidence, and Sustainability (ACES) are the four components of this acronym. This method is meant to aid decision-making by providing a framework within which issues can be broken down and potential answers explored.

Many top executives give the same answer when asked how they decide on things. They claim they first pinpoint the issue, be it a lack of sales or an influx of departing employees. They investigate the case to determine its root cause and then develop a set of criteria and objectives for resolving the issue in accordance with the company’s overall strategy. They claim that this is how they come up with various possibilities to evaluate against their goals. The verdict suddenly appears (Tučník & Bureš, 2016).

However, trusting one’s gut can have negative consequences. Sound judgment, based on intuition, is built on a foundation of experience. However, the world is changing rapidly, encountering novel scenarios. Sometimes what you have done before is fine. When we rely on our gut, we can become stuck on the first piece of information we receive, become attached to the status quo, find excuses to avoid change because of past investments and cherry-pick evidence to back up our preconceived notions. We are clinically naive when it comes to trusting our gut instincts.

While reaching a final decision, what factors should be taken into account? Brand development ambition, resource accessibility, and anticipated profitability are all factors to consider. With this information, you can create a basic decision table in which the criteria appear in the columns and the choices in the rows. Once that is filled out, you have the option of doing a simple rank ordering or, for a more nuanced approach, assigning weights to the criterion. The correct course of action should be immediately apparent. The likely receives the possible e best score, confirming your gut instinct. The possibility of creating the product in-house could also be considered.

There are two takeaways from this pattern. First, there is a lot more objectivity in the conversation. Second, we only discuss the most crucial aspects: Have we considered all possible solutions? Do we have the correct standards here? Have we correctly ranked them? Despite its apparent ease of use, the ACE framework is a robust method for evaluating potential outcomes. It is an approach to management and leadership grounded on data but leaves room for the intuitive insights of humans.

Decision-making Summary

The prolonged pandemic has posed numerous difficulties for international institutions. Keeping operations going while guaranteeing a secure and healthy workplace for workers is one of the greatest difficulties businesses confront today. Adopting procedures that allow employees to work remotely could alleviate this issue. Employees might work from home more often if remote work policies were in place, decreasing the number of opportunities for the virus to spread from person to person. However, a few things must be considered before establishing a remote work policy. There are several potential drawbacks to remote work, including lower productivity and communication, security risks, and an increased risk of isolating personnel.

All parties involved—businesses, employees, schools, unions, and governments—must readjust to the new standard. This shift emphasizes the importance of managing employees based on results rather than hours worked and will likely imply several changes for companies and managers. Employees will need to be adaptable to take advantage of the new possibilities presented by the rapidly changing nature of the workplace and acquire the necessary skills for working remotely. Teachers must focus more on digital literacy and hasten the transition from formal schooling to ongoing education. Trade unions must reevaluate their recruitment strategies for workers who do not interact often and how they can adapt to changing social protection requirements. The change to remote work will have distributional impacts, and policymakers will need to address these effects and those they may have on work-life balance and social security.



Assumptions should be identified and questioned before settling on a remote-work policy. Possible vital assumptions include the following:

Assumption 1: Time spent working away from the office reduces output.

According to a newly released survey from Future Forum, workers with complete control over their work schedule are 29% more productive and 53% more able to focus than those without. Nevertheless, do employers believe their workers can be as efficient outside the office? Microsoft has announced the results of a new study showing that 85 per cent of managers feel less confident in their employees’ productivity due to the rise of hybrid work. To put it another way, nearly half of all managers report having difficulty trusting their hybrid workers to provide their best work. In light of this mistrust, researchers at Microsoft coined the phrase “productivity paranoia” to describe the phenomenon “where supervisors fear that lost productivity is due to people not working,” even while the number of hours worked, meetings held, and other activities measures have all grown.

A new analysis by Citrix corroborates these findings; the report was based on a global poll of 900 company leaders and 1,800 knowledge workers. Half of all company heads think workers put in less effort while “out of sight.” In addition, 48% of CEOs have used employee computer monitoring software to keep tabs on their staff’s productivity. That is perhaps why only 49 per cent of workers trust their boss. This more conventional camp of business owners and managers agrees with Elon Musk’s insistence that all workers, especially knowledge workers, at Tesla and SpaceX be physically present at the office daily. Musk thinks people working from home are just “phoning it in” and faking it.

Some conservative leaders aspire to Musk’s desire to increase productivity through full-time in-office employment for knowledge workers. Microsoft found that by the Spring of 2023, half of all knowledge worker managers planned to require their employees to report to the workplace physically. A survey conducted by Future Forum found that CEOs in their 50s and 60s are the most sceptical of the benefits of working remotely. Younger leaders emphasize optimizing the effectiveness of their teams’ hybrid and remote arrangements.

Assumption 2: Working remotely will cause a breakdown in the team’s ability to communicate and operate together.

Within weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak, roughly one-third of American workers transitioned to WFH. About 5% of Americans could work from home more than three days a week before the pandemic. By April 2020, however, as many as 37% of Americans will be working full-time from home, with their earnings making up 46% of the total in the United States.

Although there is a wealth of literature on remote work and virtual teams, almost all of this research has been noncausal, meaning that it has yet to isolate the impacts of remote work on productivity or teamwork. The unexpected opportunity to determine the causal effect of remote work on employees’ collaboration networks and habits arose due to Microsoft’s companywide WFH policy during the epidemic. In April 2020, Microsoft implemented a WFH mandate, mandating all non-essential U.S. employees to work from home. Only 18% of the company’s staff had ever worked remotely before the epidemic. Following the law’s implementation, all of Microsoft’s U.S. employees performed their jobs remotely.

We analyzed how employees’ communication preferences and collaboration patterns changed due to this WFH requirement. Our findings indicate that employees’ networks became less dynamic over time and more ossified due to distant employment. We also discovered that employees worked longer hours and relied more on asynchronous media like email and IM to communicate.

Assumption 3: Remote work will not be accepted by staff members.

In March 2020, when COVID-19 workplace standards were implemented, approximately 70% of full-time workers were expected to do their jobs remotely. Several businesses were taken aback to find that their staff was just as productive working from home as they were in the office and often even happier. However, there were drawbacks to working remotely, such as difficulties with child care, distant education, a lack of boundaries, and isolation from colleagues. What has received less attention during this time of mandatory remote work is the comfort level of workers at their makeshift or accurate home offices.

Assumption 4: It will not be possible to work remotely due to limitations in the IT system.

Many companies worldwide have tried the remote work model for some time. The global spread of COVID-19 has accelerated the trend toward working from home. Many businesses have even ordered their staff to work from home as a precaution against the epidemic. Working remotely is necessary now, but it will likely become the norm. Once employees discover they can work remotely, see their productivity rise, and enjoy the many perks, it may be challenging for their employers to coax them back into the office.

As it has traditionally been implemented, IT support and security assumes that all employees will be located in the same building and using the same private network. From an information technology standpoint, remote work presents technical issues for which many small organizations are ill-equipped (Charalampous et al., 2019). They need the technology and infrastructure to embrace remote employment fully. Small business workers are less likely to have extensive experience working remotely. When you factor in the inexperience of the remote workforce and the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity threats, it is easy to understand how precarious the position is.

The end-network user setup poses the most significant information technology barrier while handling remote work. Your organisation can do nothing about the employees’ personal network setups. The network becomes vulnerable to various dangers due to the lack of security on linked mobile and IoT devices. There will likely be significant security flaws that must be fixed.

However, consumer-grade network equipment is typically used to construct residential networks, which cannot cope well with heavy use from several users. While a residential user’s Internet service provider (ISP) might provide enough bandwidth, bottlenecks still occur due to equipment limits or improper configuration. When others on the network are playing online games or streaming videos, it might slow down real-time services like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and video conferencing, which can cause problems for remote employees.


The next step is for me to determine what factors will be considered when deciding whether or not to implement a remote work policy. Potentially essential factors include:

Concern about Employee Safety

As a business owner, you face constant pressure to ensure the safety of your staff. The addition of remote workers further complicates the already challenging risk management task. However, what do you do when your worker’s house doubles as their workplace? You can equip your office staff with comfortable, ergonomic furnishings and equipment. What about telecommuting, however?

Those who work from home risk developing health issues without adequate ergonomics. Office employees frequently experience issues with their hands, wrists, and arms. Workplace injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, sprains, and strains, are far more likely if they do not have a mouse, a wrist rest, or a correctly set workspace.

Because workers spend eight hours a day sitting at their desks, ergonomics is crucial. A desk and chair fit for an entire workday may be unavailable to remote workers. Joint and muscle pain in the hips, knees, or back may develop from sitting on an unsupportive chair.

Employees may have neck and shoulder pain, stress, or weakness if their workstation or work table is too low or too high. The worker risks developing a musculoskeletal disorder after prolonged exposure to these conditions. It might not be easy to ensure your remote workers’ safety while working from home. There may not be any regulations making companies responsible for mishaps that happen in remote offices, but it is still wise to take precautions. You will not just be safeguarding your remote workers but also your company’s good name.

Value Added

The overall effect of telework on business success depends on two key channels: Firm performance can be influenced directly through employee efficiency, motivation, and knowledge generation, and indirectly through telework’s cost savings, which can then be put toward innovation and reorganization that boosts productivity.

Collaboration and open dialogue

Teleworkers may be less productive because it hinders face-to-face interactions, which is essential for sharing information and keeping managers in the loop. Several studies have shown that face-to-face interactions are superior to other types of communication, like phone conversations, emails, or online chats. It has been demonstrated, for example, that personal communication is more persuasive, draws greater attention, and facilitates the observation of social cues. As a result of a decline in face-to-face interaction, we may see a rise in more disruptive modes of communication like email and online conferences. Third, less frequent personal communication has repercussions for the firm’s engagements with key stakeholders, such as clients and suppliers, and can have adverse effects on the firm’s overall success.

Technology Support System

A remote workforce has been shown to have several positive effects, including higher productivity and employee satisfaction. This, however, cannot be done at the expense of compromising IT security or compliance standards or at the expense of unduly burdening the end user. Work-from-home arrangements and their effects on productivity have received a lot of attention since the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet, issues with IT assistance are rarely discussed.

Perhaps the inability to simply drop in poses the greatest obstacle when providing IT help to remote workers. The stress of trying to figure out an issue can be greatly reduced by the reassurance of a face-to-face conversation with an IT support professional. It can be difficult to solve problems that need a physical inspection using remote assistance technologies. Even seasoned IT teams may have trouble keeping up with everything that has to be done in a remote work setting.

Allowing workers some leeway

It was generally agreed upon by experts that time-based metrics are not relevant when gauging the performance of remote workers. The policy should detail the expected availability and responsiveness of managers, as well as the preferred methods of communication between employees and their superiors.

Efficient use of resources

To begin a financial analysis, it is necessary to consider all possible costs and benefits of the policy in question. Rent and utility bills are two examples of overt expenditures associated with working from home. Some causes, such as discontented workers or a lack of effective teamwork, are more intangible or conceptual. We either buy furniture for the office or provide a work from home stipend so that employees can do the same if they prefer to do their work away from the office.

The financial benefits of working from home are more appealing than those of hybrid work or traditional office employment when all costs are taken into account (see below). In addition, the numbers highlight the significance of productivity when weighed against other costs. Managers can use this information to better decide whether or not to spend money on automation, training, or employee events.

Evoked Set/Existing Options

After assumptions are questioned and criteria are set, decisions can be made with greater precision. In this instance, the options are either to implement a remote work policy or not. In order to make this choice, it could be useful to learn about the approaches used by other companies, such as the types of remote work policies they’ve implemented and the difficulties they’ve encountered.


Last but not least, you should formulate a plan to fix the issue. The options available, the stated criteria, and the questioned assumptions should all factor into this plan of action. Implementing a remote work policy gradually, beginning with a subcategory of employees, and tracking productivity and interaction to ensure the policy is working successfully could be a viable strategy for this decision.


As the coronavirus pandemic has spread, many companies have adopted remote work as a means of maintaining operations and keeping staff safe. Companies all across the world are scrambling to create policies to regulate the increasingly common phenomenon of remote workers. Businesses can weigh the pros and cons of implementing remote work policies by using the ACES decision-making technique. This paper has assessed the usefulness of the ACES methodology in determining policy for telecommuting employees. The ACES decision-making method provides a structure for weighing the benefits and drawbacks of a decision.

Employees benefit from increased mobility and lower transportation costs thanks to the option of working remotely from their homes or other convenient locations. It improves the quality of life for workers and makes it easier to attract and retain top talent. When employees are able to work from home, the company saves money on rent and utilities.

One disadvantage of working from home is that there may be more interruptions and distractions. Another issue is the potential for security and privacy breaches if workers access firm data over unsecured networks. Another issue is that distant workers may feel cut off from the rest of the team, leading to feelings of isolation and a reduction in teamwork. From the advantage and disadvantages, ACES decision making technique help us to make the final decision.


Tučník, P., & Bureš, V. (2016). Experimental evaluation of suitability of selected multi-criteria decision-making methods for large-scale agent-based simulations. PloS one, 11(11), e0165171.

Charalampous, M., Grant, C. A., Tramontano, C., & Michailidis, E. (2019). Systematically reviewing remote e-workers’ well-being at work: A multidimensional approach. European journal of work and organizationalorganizational psychology, 28(1), 51-73.


Assumptions Worksheet

Assumption: Working from home is a productivity drain.

Problem: Studies show that working from home can boost productivity since people are less likely to be interrupted and are more in control of their schedules.

Assumption: Working remotely will cause a breakdown in the team’s ability to communicate and operate together.

Problem: Whilst remote teams may need to put in more effort to stay in touch and work together, modern technology has made it simpler than ever to do so.

Assumption: Remote work won’t be accepted by staff members.

Problem: Remote employment can help people achieve the work-life balance they’ve been seeking. Providing employees with the materials they need to feel at ease and productive when working remotely is crucial.

Assumption: It will not be possible to work remotely due to limitations in the IT system.

Problem: With sufficient time, money, and forethought, IT infrastructure may be modernizedmodernized and customizedcustomized to facilitate telecommuting.

Criteria Worksheet

Concern for Workers’ Safety


Talking to each other and working together

Tech support services

Allowing workers some leeway


Evoked Set/Existing Options Worksheet

  • Embrace a strategy of permanent telecommuting.
  • Establish a mixed-mode of remote labor
  • Don’t go ahead and institute a telecommuting policy just yet.

Strategy Worksheet

  • Find out if remote work is something employees are interested in by conducting a survey.
  • To guarantee that working remotely does not hinder productive teamwork, clear rules for communication and collaboration must be established.
  • Start the remote-work policy with a small group of employees and expand it based on their experiences and the results the policy yields.


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