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Remote Work is Here to Stay – Suggestions on How to Embrace it (and Why)

Frustrated about your current work from home environment? Are you a business owner who is paying huge rent for an empty office? Struggling to operate a business where your employees can’t walk down the hall and ask a co-worker for an update on what is going on? Embrace it. Why? Because remote work is here to stay.

As a remote work business owner, I have always seen the benefits of occasionally working from home and not being in the office. Don’t get me wrong – it is extremely important to have face to face time with your employees. But has there been a day recently when you looked up and realized that you just spent multiple hours getting a huge amount of work done, with absolutely no distractions? Yes, there are times when working from home can be a huge benefit.

But everything is just going to return to normal, isn’t it? But is it? What is normal? Sometimes it takes a major event to force change that, in retrospect, seems inconceivable that it was not embraced sooner. Let’s face it – there are companies who have been doing this for years.

The biggest reason why we don’t change? Because that is what has always been done. We don’t know any different. But now we do. Now we are seeing that employees can be productive (sometimes even more productive) when working from home. Businesses can operate, innovate, and even thrive while not having employees chained to their desk from 9-5 or living in a location where they can commute to work.

Here are some things to consider when looking at the future of work and how to ensure your organization comes out better than where you were prior to the pandemic. 

Freedom From Distractions

If you have multiple kids interrupting you throughout the day and are not set up for a home office, I would suggest making some changes. At least if you want to have success in your career. There was no way to know this was coming, so some of this is unavoidable. But with the likelihood that working from home will continue to be a part of our lives, it would make sense to invest in a home office and ensure you don’t put yourself in an even worse position – a water cooler conversation with a 9 year old who won’t stop asking why.

The Importance of Flow

If you are able to free yourself from distractions, you will likely realize that working from home can actually be much more effective. I don’t know about you, but when I go to the office, I am interacting with people. I interrupt them, they interrupt me, we spend hours of the day chit chatting about what’s going on this weekend and talking about anything that’s not work. 

At home, I do not have this luxury, which means, in the right environment, work gets my full attention. Our subconscious mind processes information 500,000 times faster than our conscious mind. Yes, this is true. 20M bits of information versus 40 bits. Flow is the state of tapping into this unconscious state. We have all experienced it, but are we intentionally pursuing it? The home office (if properly set up) is a place where you can intentionally get into this state. How much faster can you get your work done if you are processing information 500,000 times faster? 

 

Autonomy as a Job Requirement

Daniel Pink’s book Motivation (great video summary here) highlights the 3 reasons why people stay motivated for longer periods of time – autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I will just focus on the autonomy portion of this, which means the right or condition of self government. 

Why do we have to live in one location? What is the purpose of going into the office if I have focused work to do and I can concentrate better when looking out at the ocean? The next generation of employees is already thinking this way. They want to live their life how they want to live it.

So just know – if your job requires a 9-5 with no flexibility, you might be losing out on some of the top talent that is out there. 

 

Embrace Technology

Are you struggling to know what is going on with your business? Many small to mid sized businesses are NOT leveraging the technology that is available out there. In fact, most of them are not. And many of them are absolutely clueless. This is the single most impactful area of a company that can drive efficiency, reduce cost, create innovation, and drive a company towards future, even exponential, growth. And the vast majority of businesses do not even have a strategy in place on what tools they are going to use. 

Technology does many things, but here are some of the key areas where it absolutely trumps everything else. We can go into more detail in a future post. You can also read Sam Lessin’s The Future of Work.

  • Reduces the Cost of Measurement
  • Creates Centralized Knowledge across the Business
  • Automates Tasks nobody wants to do
  • Increases Communication across the Organization
  • Creates Specialization of Labor

Managing by Outcomes

With the full adoption of technology, the measurement of your business success becomes a matrix of binary 0’s and 1’s. Did we reach this outcome? Did this person do this task? Are we improving in the key areas where we have identified weaknesses? Are we getting return on the investments we have made? 

All of this leads to success. If I can measure whether all parts of my business are operating efficiently in real time (only possible through technology), I can give my employees the freedom to work when and where they want, as long as they do what they do what is being asked of them. This increases their motivation, and with more focused time, their subconscious mind is free to innovate and come up with new ideas that helps my business get where it is going faster.

So the next time you get interrupted right in the middle of a power work session, or if you are a business owner looking around an empty office, ask yourself – how can I embrace this change, as uncomfortable as it might be, and lead my employees and family to a better work/life situation?

 

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