Homing From Work

Key Point: A friend recently wanted to return to work after maternity leave, but continue her inside sales job from BOTH home and the office. (It was previously all in office). She is a high performing producer and had more than 10 years of experience with the company. Starting a family meant moving to the more affordable suburbs, but also a two-hour commute to her “old office.” Upon returning, she felt that the role from home would still get great sales results, but also support her needs as a new mother, and minimize non-value added time like commuting. The manager wasn’t comfortable with this idea because he “couldn’t see the whites of her eyes in the office every day.” Outcome: She now works for a competitor, mostly from home.

An organization that focuses on results achieved from working versus time spent at work has a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining excellent people. Why is this? Well, the best people want an environment that gives them reasonable personal control and flexibility. For many jobs, we juggle a mash up of personal and work life. Technology enables a lot of us to work from almost anywhere. So why would we artificially attach work to a place and certain hours if we don’t REALLY have to? We need to provide goods and services someone is willing to pay for. That means having the judgment to produce and show up when and where we need to. It seems the standard “nine to five” in the “office” is sometimes limiting and perhaps even a dumb way to work and live. 

Check out a recent infographic by Captivate Network on “homing from work” – Doing personal activities during the workday shows how mixing work and personal time may be the best way to rectify work/life conflicts. Data shows 93 percent of busy professionals took breaks to do personal activities during the workday in an effort to improve their work/life balance. More than two out of three of those surveyed admitted to surfing the net or shopping online while nearly half left their office to run personal errands, including going to the bank, medical appointments, picking up a gift or dropping off dry cleaning. The number of employees running personal errands during the day has increased by 31 percent. Perhaps most interesting is that the number of employees who reported having a healthy work-life balance increased by 11 percent despite a 30 percent increase in the number of individuals working more than nine hours a day.

So more people put in more time to get the desired results, yet reported a significant increase in work/life balance. It makes so much sense. Most of us want to be self-accountable and make a valued contribution. Dan Pink’s writing about the compelling nature of mastery and autonomy reinforces this. This way of thinking and behaving becomes so valuable and meaningful to a work culture that once you start you can likely never go back. I’ve seen A RESULTS FOCUSED philosophy catch fire and take on its own momentum. And like many things in life, there is a continuum, and most of us find the best place to be and work depending on where our life is. They key is a self-accountable personal philosophy and work environment that allows for reasonable freedom. It is a teeter-totter balance of accountability and autonomy. 

Character Moves: 

  1. Seek out or develop an environment where you can “home from work” and “work from home” because the focus is on you delivering results much more than you putting in time. 
  2. Even if you have to go to work at a particular time and place, seek out ways to promote people being able to attend to “life stuff” during conventional working hours. If we work at it, there are many creative solutions.
  3. Become committed to what successful results and outcomes are in your job versus primarily feeling “good or bad” about the time put in. Most of us will put in more than the time needed to deliver great results because we’re wired to achieve them.

Homing from work in The Triangle,

Lorne 

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