Office Life Doesn’t Work For Everyone

 


I’ve never worked full-time for an employer in my life. I’ve been in total control of the way I work for years. It’s been a fulfilling journey so far. I would happily do it all over again.

A lot has changed in the last two years. Whether you work for someone else or work for yourself, you’ve probably experienced one of the many uncertainties people in the modern world work face today.

Right now, many employers are rethinking how, when, and where employees work. Many business leaders were forced to embrace remote work because of the pandemic.

Today, many of them have the choice to work from the office again. But after more than a year of working remotely, many managers are rethinking the upside and downside of working remotely. They are measuring the performance of their employees away from the office. They probably have more questions than answers.

The many questions of flexible work

Did employees perform better or worse outside the office? Did remote work save them money? Is flexible work a sustainable way to work? Does it improve or hinder productivity? Do they have to restructure the office life? Will employees perform better when they can work from home and use the office for just essential meetings?

These are the few of the dozen questions employers are asking themselves as people prepare for the new office life. Many companies are already used to remote workers. Some businesses have been benefiting from the flexible work culture for years.

A McKinsey & Company research confirms that many people want a flexible working model after the pandemic. In a recent Accenture report, 83% of workers said they prefer a hybrid work week — an arrangement that allows them to combine working remotely and in-office.

Location is not everything. Flexible work means less commute. I don’t even know what that feels like because I’ve never commuted to work in my life. But I know my present work life means I get to work first thing in the morning.

I don’t have to travel to work. The pandemic has given people more opportunities to deliver great work from home. That means less stress and increased productivity if they’ve managed to build a system that brings out the best in them. Happy people deliver the best results.

Flexible work can be an excellent option for employers if they can manage it well and help their employees thrive. It can reduce cost and the need for massive office spaces (which tend to cost a lot).

I used to create content for Microsoft. I worked with many influencers from all over the world. We designed different content formats to promote Microsoft cloud tools. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with people from all backgrounds. I never stepped into the Microsoft office in the UK but created content for the company for over a year.

Successful remote workers need productive routines

The biggest challenge for creative or remote workers is planning real social interaction and daily activities outside of work into their schedule.

“Seeing people in real life is good,” says Ev Williams. “Moving around helps the brain,” he adds. Working from home can be a productivity disaster if you don’t use a routine or structure to get things done. A better work routine limits or reduces the many distractions you can face at home.

If you can plan your day for maximum output and make time for downtime within the same workday, you can do more great work every day.

Not everyone needs to be micro-managed. As long as you get the job done, working in the office should not be your only option. In the modern world of work, people should be measured by their output, not by their office hours.

Before the pandemic, I used to work from home, my town library, and coffee shops. I change environments to give my brain a break from the same space. Today, I work primarily from home.

In the first half of the day, I write (to build my body of work) and publish content from partners on my small business blog after midday. I make time for daily walks away from the screen. Time outside and in nature does wonders for the brain. Making time for activities outside work can prevent isolation and loneliness.

Many employers are desperate to get their staff back to the office. If your employer is not convinced that you can be flexible and still get real work done, earn their trust. If remote work is a better option for you, prove to them it’s also a good option for the company.

Business is not a place. It’s about the people

Office life is a great option for many people. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Technology companies like Twitter, Square and Facebook have allowed employees to work remotely.

They are among forward-thinking companies that work with their employees to boost productivity without micro-management. They will most likely witness massive cost savings in the long term.

Choice means they can do more for their mental health. It also means they can be productive from anywhere. It allows them to feel less stressed and anxious but still perform better.

The pandemic should not be the only reason for change. But it has forced businesses to reconsider what it means to be productive. People work better when they are healthy in mind and body.

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will,” says Richard Branson.

The next era of work can do wonders for business growth. But business leaders must be willing to reconsider how their employees work and what it means to be productive.

More control for the people who actually run the business means improving work culture, technology for business communication, and rewarding talent differently. In the long-term, it’s good for business.

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