Having embraced flexible working many years ago and enabling my team to work whenever they like and wherever they want to has been the most positive step that I have ever taken in business. Now in the grip of the Coronavirus, I am also starting to question the very fabric of our business world. There are many questions that I have had to ponder.
The first is, do I really need to travel for meetings? The answer to this is a resounding no, I have conducted all of my meetings online for the last three weeks and found it very rewarding as well as developing more sustainable and meaningful relationships because of these unprecedented times.
The second question is, do I really need an office building? Again, I have reviewed this and have been able to carry out my business for three weeks without going into the office or needing anything that I have there. Because my staff work remotely, we just carry on with business as usual. We hold weekly Zoom meetings where needed, but most of the time they are so well used to how we work they just get on with it and of course meet every deadline.
The third question is, do I really need to work as hard? This is a difficult question to answer as I am not sure that the type of work that I am carrying out is in the same category as that in my full-on business and at the moment it is more about saving what I have created rather than developing new work. Having said this, I feel a lot more liberated being in charge of my own destiny and not having to conform to the working week in any way. I get up and dress smartly, but since I left a university seven years ago and started up my own business, I have donned neither suit nor tie. Also because of the headspace I have gained, I am able to work much more effectively and efficiently and enjoy all of the work that I do.
Because of the virus, there have been distinct changes in my life and these changes have generated four key revelations. I don’t really need to travel, and the time taken traveling could be put to better use. Much of what I do can be done online and the things that can’t perhaps I can teach these online to people in-country releasing me to do more appropriate work. I don’t need an office and when this is over (if it ever is) I will be moving my office back to a desk at home, throwing away most of the things that we have accumulated and meeting with my staff for a coffee once a month. I don’t need to work less but smarter to free up time for me which is so important and that I have recently enjoyed.
Many of you will say, that’s OK for you but what about me working in a huge office with loads of staff. The answer is here, imagine cities with office space removed and more green space created replacing them, imagine the decrease in pollution from the traffic entering and exiting every day and imagine the wider community formed by just being with others that count.
Food for thought methinks.