Have we realised life is more than working?

What have we learned from working remotely the last two years.

In 2019, the world was going about their working lives as normal. The commute of being squished between two strangers or being sat on the M25 was acceptable as typical for a weekday. Office employees didn’t know anything different from working a 9-5, five days in the office.Company office closures were a thing solely reserved for companywide meetings or Bank Holidays. But come March 2020, we were all carted out of the office and expected to carry on working from our houses, all connected by bandwidth and Zoom.

Of course, there were teething problems to this. The common sound of ‘sorry I think you’re on mute’ became a phrase we all could hate and relate to. But as the months went on, workers started to realise what working at home could achieve, or what its counterpart didn’t achieve.

Now we are well into 2022, what have we learned from this?

Work shouldn’t be rigid

The traditional way of working has well and truly been broken. Both employers and employees have realised work can be actioned and completed without issue in a remote or flexible scenario. While there are some jobs that require in-person meetings, the look of office working has changed.

We now see companies allow their employees to work from whatever location they see fit as well as in some cases, choosing their hours. This is because visibility, doesn’t mean productivity. There is also a higher level of trust with these employees, who in affect, manage their own time.

By not being tied to rigid time constraints, these employees are likely to feel more relaxed with their work.

Cost of the commute

By removing the commute, employees could use the extra time to get more work done or to focus on themselves. In essence, time was better utilised. Another side to this is that with inflation going up, workers who can save money on their commute are more likely to be satisfied with working.

How flexible working is a positive

‘Before 2020, only managers and senior staff were allowed to work from home. But when 2020 hit, the company had to adapt. They soon realised that seniority wasn’t representative of who worked hard and who didn’t.

Working from home also means I’m more productive, as I’m not distracted by other people around me. The biggest difference is my mental health. While I know others have missed the social aspect of the office, I find the flexible working approach gives me a much better work-life balance. Though I often find myself staying on later than I would if I was in the office, my life isn’t impacted by this. Whether I take a full hour at lunch to run, or go to the gym before work, I don’t feel the constraints my 9 -5 used to give me.’

Anon- Marketing Executive for U.K based firm.

This idea that flexible working can give the employee more ownness over where and when they work, as long as it is within the parameters set by their employer is freeing. In essence, these employees feel as though they are treated more as individuals rather than commodities.

Companies need to be flexible

When searching for new careers, many candidates are prioritising the flexible aspect of work as they begin to realise that they have a greater control over what their working life should look like. By offering flexibility to employees, companies will ensure that they don’t miss out on key talent.

There is also a discussion whether employees are becoming more focused on achieving a good work-life balance possible career progression.

Flexible working facts

·     Spotify lets employees ‘Work from anywhere’

·     Monzo give those who have worked with them for four years a 3-month paid sabbatical

·     Belgium recently allowed workers to opt for a 4-day work week

·     92% of people born between 1980 and 2000 identified flexibility as a top priority when job hunting *

·     Only 9.8% of jobs are advertised as flexible at hiring stage*

*data from human equality

Images courtesy of Unsplash