Changing Workplaces

October 16, 2021

Opening an article with the phrase "the world of work has changed since the global pandemic" may seem cliché, but it's true. Since the worldwide pandemic, the workplace has altered dramatically.

Many salaried and tech employees have been compelled to work from home since March 2020, balancing care duties, managing burnout and the danger of their businesses going out of business, and overall adjusting to a "new normal."

Many large corporations have declared that their permanent offices would be closed indefinitely; work has become home, and home has become work. I'm writing this from a WeWork (a benefit provided by my company) since sitting alone in my apartment all day every day isn't good for my mental health. And, given how crowded this WeWork is, I'm sure a lot of others feel the same way.

But, in addition to the consequences of where we work, there is a significant shift in how we work. With talk of a four-day workweek gaining traction, more businesses providing flexible working hours, and rumors of the Great Resignation circulating, employers are realizing that giving a competitive wage is no longer enough.

Compensation should be considered as a whole, not simply its components. Salary, benefits like as healthcare, office location and perks, time and hours worked, and the assistance your business will provide are all factors in determining compensation.

Compensation, furthermore, should provide for flexibility.

The advantages of a four-day workweek may be applied to a variety of flexible schedules and can help your business become more inclusive. Working shorter days, for example, is beneficial to individuals with care obligations, and allowing those with chronic diseases to work from home enables them to flourish at work.

Allowing your business to operate completely remotely also helps to expand the applicant pool by allowing individuals who cannot afford to reside in urban regions to apply, as well as leveling the playing field in terms of generational wealth.

Flexible working is beneficial even if there is no consideration for inclusiveness. Employees like flexibility.

Nobody performs their best work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., in a cubicle, following a two-hour drive to a location without a downtown. Your brain doesn't function as well on certain days, and you stop being productive around 4 p.m.

When your kid keeps you up all night, logging on at 10 a.m. allows you to get an additional hour of sleep.

When businesses discuss work/life balance, they often concentrate only on how to optimize the "work" component while ignoring the "life" aspect. But what if the solution to the future of employment was more revolutionary?

What if we began talking about achieving a healthy work-life balance? What if you had to prioritize your life?

Changing the whole working environment will not happen overnight, but we can begin to construct a better future when businesses become more aware of the cultures they create and the expectations they place on their workers.

Of course, flexibility in the workplace should not come at the expense of productivity. The goal of flexible working is to integrate productive work into your life rather than to eliminate it entirely.

Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow summed it succinctly when the company switched to a four-day workweek:

"Work will take up whatever space you give it. From Monday through Thursday, I'm betting we'll become a lot more efficient. We'll cancel those meetings that aren't essential, and we won't send any messages that aren't necessary. We'll get more concrete work done since we'll have less time."

When we conceive of the future of work as flexibility, we're implying that we'll allow work to take up the space that best suits our schedules, rather than that we'll arrange our lives around work.

Thanks to Alice Corner at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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