The future of work is remote and flexible

I’m passionate about a lot of things.
retro video games.
the mighty New Zealand All Blacks.
to name a few.
But one big thing I’m really passionate about is remote work. and flexible hours.
Make that 2 things. And if there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us is this:
the future is remote. and it is flexible.
The idea that you can work from anywhere, anytime and still get your job done is incredible.
It’s also still a concept that many struggle to come to terms with.
Imagine that!
Now those who aren’t on board with this idea are quick to dismiss it on the grounds of trust.
“how can you trust people so much?”
“what if people take advantage?”
“no one will do any work!”
The reality is, the people who say this have control issues.
They’re still stuck in a world of traditional jobs, offices and hours. Clock in, clock out.
They don’t know any different.
They’re petrified at the thought of anything that threatens the status quo.
Clear benefits abound, they remain ignorant and refuse to learn.
Let’s not even tell them about the benefits of a 4 day work week. (no one needs a heart attack right now!)
Now back to the issue of trust. of course there’s a “risk”.
But what do you do to minimise or mitigate risk? You set clear guidelines and expectations.
You put policies in place that help you deal with this “risk”.
This sends a clear message to your team on how the organisation views remote work and flexible hours. (for example, you may set an expectation to be available between specific working hours or that remote within the same city is ok but remote overseas might not be practical in your line of work – whatever it is, there should be clarity).
If one person is taking the mick, then you deal with that person and the issue in private.
There’s no need to introduce a blanket rule that punishes the many because of the flaws of the few.
Focusing on rewarding quality output, not attendance.
Because the moment you insist on set hours and being physically present, you send the wrong kind of message.
What you tell your team is that their value and worth is determined purely by how long they keep their seats warm.
You’re also saying that their actual work doesn’t matter as much because all you care about is bums on seats.
You’re telling your team that you don’t trust them and this breeds insecurity.
This is dystopian and toxic to mental health.
And this makes for an awful workplace.
(You might as well start preparing for exit interviews and negative reviews on Glassdoor.)
Forget about the jobs that do demand being physically present.
And forget about cases where some jobs just don’t work as well remote.
Or that not everyone can work from home or remotely.
That’s not what this is about.
This is about jobs where the hours don’t need to be rigid and location literally does not matter.
It’s about the ridiculous idea some people have that remote work is not beneficial.
It’s about empowering people by giving them more autonomy.
Showing them that you trust them to get their work done without compromising on their mental health and lifestyle.
You and your company may have gotten to where you are right now by doing the things you’ve always done.
And you may continue to succeed this way. (success is subjective of course)
But we’ve seen companies avoiding financial ruin by adopting remote work policies.
And we’ve seen many even succeed beyond their own expectations as a result of this.
Maybe they had terrible office layouts (time for open plan to die!) or their staff had to endure long commutes.
Maybe the general vibe was off.
Whatever it was, going remote took away all those things that were holding the company back from truly succeeding.
But let’s just say you really can’t (or won’t) go remote.
Do your team a favour: at least give them a bit of flexibility with their hours.
And maybe just refresh the office and give it a new lease on life?
Revise your policies in how you work, what rewards and recognition there are for quality work and maybe take another look at your company perks?
Maybe the biggest issue to your future success is not remote work but in fact, a crappy workplace?
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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