Around the world, many people who used to go to the office daily, have to work from home due to the COVID-19 Outbreak. This gives us an opportunity to look at flexible workspaces and creates possibilities for the future for many office workers.
Working from Home during times of Coronavirus outbreak offers chances
Maybe the government enforced “work from home” rule finally shows your boss that he can cut back on office space. I remember working for a company that only had a few flexible desk spaces available for workers, and only necessary office staff had their own workspace, like Human resources and finance, that would be more in the office on a daily base than all the project leaders. Maybe this can be a new challenge for your boss, to reinvent the office.
Maybe you have been more productive working from home We all have our different moments and circumstances that boost our creativity. Put me in an office and I will have a hard time being creative and produce plans and write reports. Send me home with a laptop I probably have it done in no time. Why? Because sitting behind a desk having to meet a deadline kills my flow. But being able to step out in the garden while writing, finding the right tone and be inspirational in my report writing, give me just that little break I need to do all that. Or make a cup of tea in my favourite mug, having the cat next to me. It all helps to speed me up instead of slowing my down due to office gossip, distracting colleagues interaction and not being able to listen to my own music.
You have kept a close connection with the team, without meeting the team They can be a drag, the endless team meetings and meetups to “talk things through”. Sometimes totally unnecessary and organized by a stuck team member asking for input or by a panicking team leader thinking the team is off track. You have to be present, be attentive and say your say, and distractive behaviour is not appreciated. For me those meeting drain energy. They suck the life out of me.
They take up way too much time because the projector is not working, or someone comes in late and needs to be updated, or the questions asked are pure stupid and lack insight and knowledge, and therefore commitment, and the coffee refill smoke breaks etc, are all-time I could use different.
Now, working from home you probably have more email, which is nice, more facetime meetings, which are a speedy process and more effective than sitting in one room together, and if you can multitask, you can be present at the meeting while doing something else.
You realize that half your time in the office flies away doing titbits of nothing All of a sudden you can do all your work in like, 4-5 hours, while normally you spent 8 in the office wondering what happened that you did not finish by the time you can go home. YOu have waisted so much time with walking to the Xerox machine, getting coffee, having to go away on a lunch break because your computer will not unlock for 30 minutes or more due to health laws, greeting colleagues and looking for a paperclip refill in the storage room.
You notice a difference in your reports on work hours If you do hour-reports and work on projects that are measured in worked hours versus money instead on simple 8 hours assigned to a job, you might notice that your reports have changed.
Usually when I worked hour-based projects the travel time would be deducted either on overhead or on the project depending on where I started my travel to the project. I always found it the most complex matter in my weekly reports. For one project would not allow me to travel, so it would be overhead, and other project involved a lot of travel but only for the project and not mixed travel, like in between team meetings and different locations, since travel time was earmarked and limited.
It drove me nuts.
Now, working from home, all that travel time has a new ring to it. You travel less, so there will be less overhead hours, and more project hours probably due to effectiveness, which makes you work on a project more cost-effective.
Working from home has changed your job both in the front end and back end
Working from home has changed your job on every level, for the client, your colleagues and the companies finances and very important: for you.
You realize that you worked in you PJ’s most of the days, without make-up or having shaved, depending on your gender.
You realize that you are happier and rekindled the zest for your job
You realize that working from home does not have to be at home, it can also be in a cafe or hotel lobby and that idea is tempting and makes you even smile more.
You realize you haven’t felt the urge to call in sick
You realize you love your own coffee more than the office brand
You like the way your home office looks, smells and how personal it is.
We may have never realized that our job could be done from anywhere
Not all jobs allow work from home. And some jobs allow this only half time. But if it is possible to work from home even if it is only for a few hours per week, it is worth discussing it. If we have learned one thing from the CoronaVirus lockdown is that our jobs may be more flexible than we ever thought.
Conservative thinking from a team leader or boss can limit possibilities, and most of the time workers follow the thinking pattern of a boss. So we hardly even consider our job to be that flexible.
Points to discuss with your boss when you make a plea for more time outside the office
Measure your productiveness and show him how trustworthy and productive you have been
Proof him you worked in a more effective way and had more interaction with colleagues that was effective than you had for years int the office
Show him you can have more tasks, because of that effectiveness, he will see the value of that!
Tell him that even when you are sick, you might be able to get work done, and you are not infecting any colleagues, so your sick leave will drop
Tell him that you are more of a night person and loved to work at night that is why the report you write is different from all the others.
Ask him to ask around for clients opinions about your reachability and connectedness with them if he worries about that
Explain the cost-effectiveness of working at home when you work on hourly-based-projects.
Point to keep in mind when discussing working more flexible
1. Make sure that internet bills and Utility bills are compensated, maybe your work-home-travel compensation can be budgeted in a different way to cover those costs
2. Make sure that there are clear rules of when you have to report in the office
3. Know upfront how many hours your job takes, do you really need 8 hours to fulfil your tasks or can extra tasks or a study be added?
4. Your boss might not want to refund your coffee costs, but that is a low price to pay for more freedom. But do talk about the costs, after all his overhead will drop, your bills will rise when you spent more time at home.
5. Who provides the laptop and who does the maintenance? Maybe your company will provide you with a laptop, for me that is preferable, so I keep private and work separated, and when the laptop needs company updates the IT-guy ha no access to my private materials.
And I am sure you can come up with more ideas and questions and more important ag=rguments to convince your boss you’s be a more happy employee when you can work from home and that the clients and he will benefit from that.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.