RECONSTRUCTING OUR RELATIONSHIP TO WORK
We live in a hyper-connected world. Most of us are switched on to technology in many different ways: a smartphone, a laptop, an ipad, a PC etc. We can get instant updates via email, facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest & linkedin. We can spend more time uploading our life than actually living it.
These connections to technology mean that everybody is, on some level, in work mode during all waking hours. Indeed, most professionals in this day and age are available to answer work emails and calls 24/7.
So how does this affect our relationship to work?
Creating a new work paradigm is vital as stress and burnout levels in the workplace skyrocket. A September 2012 Report commissioned by Regus found that around half of business people globally say that their stress levels have risen in the past year.
One way that we can shift our relationship to work is to focus on outcomes rather than hours. This means that employees are required to complete certain tasks by the end of the day, week or month, rather than having to give excessive amounts of face-time at the office. These outcomes can be completed at any time of day, in or out of the office.
A 2013 study by Microsoft found that 70% of office-based workers get more done when they are out of the office. The study also found that 38% of people reported that they have the ability to be more creative with flexible working arrangements.
Of course in some professions the completion of outcomes may involve spending long periods at the office, but it also allows for being away from the office when you can be working from home, or working odd hours. For example, if you have finished ‘office time’ by 3pm, then you might go home, see your family, have a free afternoon, and then start working again from 7pm.
The outcomes not hours approach also rewards those who are efficient and productive as they may finish their tasks earlier than others who tend to procrastinate and waste time.
Employers must become mindful of the need for flexible working arrangements. They must see new working paradigms as an opportunity to have higher rates of retention, innovation and productivity. We need to dismantle the boundaries between personal and professional to allow for greater authenticity in the workplace.