One of the many astonishing things about 2020 has been the pace of workplace change. The percentage of people who work from home jumped from 31% to 62% in one month. As a result, office workers realized that much of our work can be decoupled from location.
In a crisis, people cling to what they can. Many organizations tried to replicate the office environment. Any given meeting was just converted to an equivalent Zoom call. People have told me their managers were checking in on Slack or video chats around 9 a.m. — presumably to hold people accountable for keeping regular business hours. Numerous articles and experts suggested wearing shoes because bare feet might lead to a “relaxed mindset.” (No, not a relaxed mindset!)
This is a missed opportunity. When you work from home, you don’t have to replicate the office environment. In fact, you shouldn’t. Instead, you should consciously structure your workweek according to the benefits of each location.
While offices allow for easier socializing, they can also be distracting places. A recent survey found that when people absolutely had to get stuff done, only 8% preferred their workplaces during business hours. Another 8% said they preferred their workplaces outside of business hours — presumably when no colleagues were stopping by to chat about why the cheese had disappeared from the cafeteria salad bar. Almost half (49%) chose a home office for buckling down.
There’s also the less-talked-about reality of physical distraction. People are more likely to dress up for the office than a home office. But this means that many offices maintain a summer temperature that’s comfortable for men in suits and freezing for women in dresses and dress shoes that don’t allow for socks. It’s hard to do your best work when your fingers are turning blue.
Then there are the standard business hours, which really don’t work equally well for everyone. Plenty of…