Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

Work is no longer a place

Pre-pandemic the vast majority of us commuted across cities and towns to our place of work. We’d show up at ‘the office’, clock in our hours and at the end of day, make the same trek back across town, home.

Yes we’d experience facetime with colleagues, but more often than not the office proved to be the worst place to get work done. Full of distractions, meetings with no agenda and constant circular conversations, all while trying to actually get some important work done!

Apart from distractions, other flaws I see include:

  • Long commutes that prove a tax on our personal life and time away from those closest to us.
  • An office work environment that causes stress and anxiety for many.
  • Large volumes of unnecessary, expensive commuter traffic that is no good for our planet.

Work is something your people do, not a place they go.

We’ve proved time and time again during the pandemic that we can adapt to working remotely and still be as productive or in a lot of cases, more productive. Remember this is also all against the backdrop of an unplanned global experiment, juggling far from ideal conditions.

As leaders, we need to change our mindset from measuring inputs such at time and presence to instead a focus on outcomes.

Start with a flexible attitude toward the location of work and trust your people to get on with it. To measure outcomes, we need to be clear about expectations and communicate these effectively and regularly. We also need to sharpen the pencil on how we feedback on the quality of work outcomes. Feedback should always be about what they do, not where they are.

Having made the shift to a remote first culture, we’re way more intentional about how we work. We’re more focused as a team, we achieve more consistent levels of productivity and our people tell us they’re more engaged.

People have had a chance to re-wire and their priorities are much more about flexibility, trust and purposeful work as an outcome.

As restrictions ease globally, I find it hard to believe that we would rebound right back to the belief that work is a place we must go.

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