Are you Snowed in or Snowed under?
Working from home feels really different from working in the office, and for many of us, an awful lot better. So why is this and what can you do to achieve more permanent flexibility?
How many of you have found yourselves unable to get to work because of heavy snow this winter? I’d put money on the fact that you never just kick back with a TV show or a good book. My guess is that you work out what needs doing, apply some creativity and carry on with the job you are paid to do.
Best start digging!
Most people are incredibly conscientious; there are even studies to suggest we work harder from home than when the boss is watching over us. Maybe it’s because we feel a bit guilty that we aren’t visibly contributing to the team. Maybe we assume other people will think we are slacking. We pull up a chair at the kitchen table and keep at it long after we would normally have clocked out, because surely we aren’t working hard enough if we are comfortably at home while we do it?! Many of us are raised to expect work not to be convenient or much fun. No wonder it feels a bit odd when we find out it can be just as easily achieved on our terms as someone else’s. Either way, for many of us we will be more productive on ‘home work’ days than in the office. No one needs to know that you are meeting your deadlines whilst snuggled under a blanket with the cat curled up on your feet!
A comfortable place to work!
The amazing ‘Flexibility’ effect
Psychologists have consistently found that having control over our own tasks and deadlines has profoundly positive effects. This article from ‘Business Week’ describes a US company which has introduced a “results-only work environment.”
This means that if these employees get the job done in 3 hours, they don’t need to stay
for 8. They take advantage of the new regime by rocking up at midday or spending the afternoon at the movies and report greater productivity and job satisfaction as they do it. The piece explains ‘Tech companies have been going bedouin for several years. At IBM 40% of the workforce has no official office; at AT&T, a third of managers are untethered. Sun Microsystems Inc. calculates that it’s saved $400 million over six years in real estate costs by allowing nearly half of all employees to work anywhere they want.’
‘Going bedoin’- love that! But could you? Can you imagine increasing your job satisfaction, your productivity and having an abundance of personal freedom day to day? How would you manage your time differently? What impact would it have on you, your family, your health?
One type of office!
For some lucky employees, this progressive approach has revolutionised their lifestyle. It may take a little longer for a mainstream of bosses to come round to this way of thinking. So what can you do in the meantime? Working for yourself is an option that many people turn to for the benefits of a satisfying job without the constraints. Many small business owners learn their skills working for someone else and use this to develop their own service or product. If the 9-5 lifestyle doesn’t suit you anymore, which of your skills could you supply to clients of your own? If your entire role doesn’t lend itself to working independently, which elements of it will? You may have to think laterally to work out your proposition, but if working from home has given you a glimpse into a different way of living your life, it may be worth a second look.