Chatting to one of my Ninja’s last week (I run a small business mentoring group call the “Ninjas”) and we had an interesting conversation about working patterns and what hours she should work in her business and whether or not it was worthwhile her having flexible opening times in order to maximise sales.
My response was this. If you are selling anything you need to be mindful of exactly what your customers want and if that happens to mean weekends or late evening there is not much choice – you will have to make that fit. The conversation begged me to think about a couple of things – like why the hell we still work the hours we do and the way we do.
We run through rush hour traffic, crowd on trains, fill buses in order to arrive at an office for 9am then work through til 5pm or so and sit the same traffic with the same people every weekday, month in month out. But why? What are the alternatives?
The reality is many employees rush to an office in order to sit in front of a connected computer and a telephone. The same two devices that enable you to communicate, and therefore work from anywhere. The office is no longer important. Sure, for some, those doing mission critical work, making widgets, counting stock, managing staff. There is no answer – they have to turn up at the office/workshop. Importantly, how many of these people are in the workplace – are they ten or twenty percent? Likely to be no more than that.
For the balance, some 80% (eighty) of workers there is no need for them to be there at all. And this has profound implications for is all – if we don’t need to be ‘there’ we can be anywhere and this comes with substantial savings – even with only ten percent (10%) of workers being at home for the day – the benefits are substantial. No only in reduced office costs, lower travel costs, less traffic on the road, less stress.
The real beauty in this kind of ‘new method working’ is that members of staff start to benefit from the same attitude to life that us self employed do, more flexibility, more time with the family, more time to spend in our incredibly expensive houses and of course a win for the local environment especially air quality.
The working patterns we have are pre Victorian. There is no need for them to exist in 2019, there only needs to be a little adjustment to working practices for this to start changing lives, not only ours – now but also for the future residents of this planet. There are few reasons why 10% of our working lives can’t be from home – no commute for twenty or thirty days per year or even more. All it takes is for employers to start taking this matter seriously.
Our ways of working are no longer helping us, pollution, traffic congestion and lower levels of stress can all be helped by making some minor changes. There is no reason why things can’t change, indeed if they don’t we know the answers – more die back, less healthy lives and a miserable existence – driving used to be a pleasure, commuting to the office used to be tolerable, we used to have an environment that was soaking up all we could throw at it. Only now, none of the things exist.
When you are ready to join my team of Ninja’s and you really want to learn more about making it easier and doing it in way that is more friendly for or planet – you know where I am.
Thank you for getting this far. I hope this article helped.
I work with small firms, micro businesses and start ups. Those firms that are stuck don't know what to do next.
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