The age old tradition of plonking yourself on a wheely chair and staring into documents or computer screens at an office-desk is now rapidly dying.
According to the Regus Global Economic Indicator, more than a third of Australians have ditched their traditional office space and are now spending over half their working week outside the office.
64 per cent of Australian business leaders now manage staff who work away from the office at least some of the time they’re on the clock.
Motivational speaker and CEO/Founder of 21st Century Education Jamie Mcintyre predicted this trend many years ago in his book “Time Rich“. He has also been teaching this to his seminar attendees as a strategy to be able to work from home for several years.
This controversial trend has been a debatable subject when it comes to work/office culture. However, it is evident now that flexibility can actually contribute to productivity rather than hinder it.
Of course, a lot depends on the individual and their ability to multi-task, concentrate and create a successful work-life balance, but if executed properly, an increasing number of people believe that it enriches one’s lifestyle.
A common misconception is that such an arrangement is suitable primarily for new parents and it is likely that the trend gained traction initially that way. But it is also worth considering the intrinsic motivation behind getting a job, working hard and making money.
We do all these things not just to provide for ourselves but ultimately enjoy a comfortable life. There is no point to earning a six-figure salary or millions of dollars if you are primarily holed up in your office.
People often handle such arrangements depending at the stage of their career. For entry-level and graduate employees it is beneficial to spend time in the office and get a feel of the work culture.
A lot can be learned from senior managers and colleagues with more experience. It helps in networking and receiving valuable guidance as well.
However, as you settle into your job or business, having flexible office hours can come in handy. Even now there are innumerable myths associated with this trend.
People believe that working remotely can risk communication, brainstorming or efficient coordination. But with the advent of technology it doesn’t have to be that way.
Tablets and smartphones have revolutionised the way we communicate. As McIntyre mentions in his book, it is called embracing the mobile lifestyle.
At the end of the day sitting in an office for 8 hours every day, indulging in office gossip and getting distracted with unnecessary chit-chat can often be a waste of time and a hindrance to productivity.
But to ensure that you are not one of the employees who risks their future due to the ‘out of sight, out of mind syndrome’, it is best to show up at least a couple of days a week or a few hours a day.
As mentioned already, people at different stages of their career and life take advantage of flexibility in their own way.
For instance, I work from home very early in the morning, then take a few hours to cook, go to the gym or run errands. By the time I am in the office it is midday. However, I know that my routine is helping me stay healthy and fit, which in turn makes me work better.
Currently, one of my colleagues is working remotely from Thailand during a 3-week vacation. His work station is the poolside and I don’t have the slightest doubt that he is enjoying the work-life balance and achieving his KPIs.
As people move into higher levels of management or entrepreneurship, certainly the pressure is more, but it also becomes easier to step away from the office-desk
Tim Ferriss has explained in several seminars and interviews that for entrepreneurs and managers, the key is delegation and that involves hiring the right staff and developing a reliable team.
This does not mean that you are disconnected from the business; it simply means that you don’t have to micromanage every aspect of it.
Ferriss has also said that entrepreneurs who travel and take breaks from time to time actually develop their business better because of the exposure and experiences gained from going to different places and meeting new people.
As we can see, Australia is slowly starting to adapt to this trend. Only the next decade will tell us how this system will revolutionise the work-place and work culture.