27th February 2020
It’s 2020 and we can dismiss a lot of prescriptive “wisdom” around what effective working patterns look like now. Where we need to be consistent is in our interfaces with others in business. We need to do and deliver what we say we will, in a spirit of “ask once”. But how and importantly, where we do the work has never been more of an open question helped as ever by the ubiquitous double-edged sword of instantaneous communications tech. I personally like variety. If I’m coding, nothing except peace and quiet will do. When I’m engaging with a client online, writing proposals or managing projects then a setting with a bit of background buzz is best for me and much more preferable to isolation. A restaurant with power sockets, or a quietish pub in the afternoon is ideal and a meal in a place like that is far cheaper than any office hire. If I need facilities or parking, I’ll use my Regus Gold membership. It’s also a good place to collect my thoughts after a meeting on a client site and many Regus centres are just off the motorway and have provided a safe haven for me in cities all over Europe.
So, what to do if you don’t currently have the flexibility to find somewhere to be more creative and productive? Work out what the blockers might be. Is your desk equipment (second monitor, desk phone) essential and can those be compensated for at home? Can you maintain contact with your team in a way that works for them too? Is your project management style agile enough to support remote work? If you normally work with outsource teams and remote offices then that question is already answered! Then try to negotiate a new arrangement: look at the company policy and if there isn’t one, offer to help shape one. Start with a few days a month at home and make sure you deliver effectively during that time before advocating the same for your colleagues who might not feel they can speak up on the issue. Make use of the time you’re not spending commuting and prove your effectiveness offsite. I have always worked for myself so it’s not a transition I have had to make, but I have worked with clients whose staff have always benefited from a gentle push from me to see what a more flexible arrangement can offer. None of them have looked back. After all, it’s 2020.