Home or Office? Is the mixed model right for you?

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In this article I want to address the elephant in the room – will the mixed model work for you?

The last 16 months has seen a huge change in how we work and where we work, a time of change and routine that came from out of the blue with almost no time to adjust.  But adjust we did – are you one the those who now work almost exclusively from home – or at least not in the office?

Our human ability to adjust and be flexible has been put to the test big style which has presented some interesting challenges, such as: –

  • How to separate home life and work life when they happen in the same space
  • Sharing workspace with family, pets, home schooling and deliveries!
  • Finding a comfortable space to work and investing in equipment
  • Disrupted routines of sleep, eating, socialising and exercise
  • Managing isolation and a lack of real human contact
  • Learning and building resilience and flexibility to manage change

All of these challenges have been managed in one way or another to suit our own personal circumstances and for some the change is great, for others not so much.  The common thread is ‘personal circumstances’ which means that there is no one size fits all approach that will suit everyone.  Where some have had the ability to create a home office with zen like surroundings, others have worked form the edge of their bed while juggling looking after family and a dodgy broadband signal.  For some the benefits of working from home outweigh the downsides, for others the office is the only place for them to be happy and productive.

Employers have also been hit with a variety of challenges.  They have realised the benefits of lower costs with people working from home but have also had the technical and business culture challenges of managing a workforce remotely.  Of course, many would like to have their people back in the office for at least a portion of the week – but do the employees want this too?  In fact, some forward thinking employers are actively speaking to their people to get a view about what would work well for all – are you getting involved in these conversations?

In the future, being able to manage your own working environment will be seen as a key skill and behaviour as the world of work embraces remote autonomy for many employees – so get ahead and make it work for you with just 4 steps and a plan. 

So, lets look at what you should be considering when navigating your own personal circumstances and how you can be creative in designing your own ‘mixed model’.

Step 1. Make a list of the pros and cons

This may seem obvious, but its only when you put pen to paper that you can really look deeply into what your preferences are.  Do you secretly miss the commute because of the ability to spend time for yourself, or has the money you have saved opened other possibilities? Have your personal relationships been enhanced or strained by working from home? What have you gained and what has been lost that you want back?  What do you now have in your weekly routine that you would want to keep?  Create a list and take a few days to do it – sometimes a bit of time is useful when considering what you want and what you don’t want.

Step 2. Plan out an ideal month.

Make a calendar of your ideal work month, factoring in the things you want to keep (maybe that swim you do on Tuesdays), things that you want to bring back (really missing in person team meetings?), the operational rhythm of the business (sales calls, regulatory checks, site visits etc) and optimising your commute (travelling off peak or cycling instead maybe?) to name a few.  You may find that you will spend more time in one location than the other on different weeks and that is OK.  Remember, this is an ideal month so changes will be inevitable, but it does give a good overview of how it can work for you.

It also means that you have a clear proposal for your employer, a starting point that considers both your needs and the needs of the business.  That time taken preparing will save a lot of time later.

Step 3. Engage with your employer

Even if the desire of the business is to have you in the office as often as possible, having your plan ready is a solid start to those discussions.  It shows you have taken the time to consider the mixed model from all angles and not just to suit you, but also how it will impact your work.  There is of course no guarantee so be prepared to negotiate and be flexible where possible.

Step 4. Put the plan into action

Your plan is just a serving suggestion.  Try it out and see if it works! Be prepared to make small changes to refine your personal mixed model plan because the better it works for you, the better it is all round.  The balance you will achieve will have an amazing knock-on effect on your overall wellness and resilience as well as building in flexibility to weather any future unforeseen challenges and changes.

So, the mixed model of working is a personal choice and can work for you as long as you know what you need to include for both you and your employer.

In the future, being able to manage your own working environment will be seen as a key skill and behaviour as the world of work embraces remote autonomy for many employees – so get ahead and make it work for you with just 4 steps and a plan.

Shared Inspiration has a variety of blogs on topics that can help you with your overall wellness when managing transition and change, featuring Flexibility, Resilience, In Flow, Motivation to name a few.  Grab a brew and dive in! https://www.sharedinspiration.co.uk/shared-inspirations

 

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About Author

Jacci Wright is a Director of Shared Inspiration Ltd which specialises in providing leadership coaching and training for Financial Services as well as the Sensory Services and Special Needs Education sector. Jacci is a qualified NLP Master Practitioner. Coach and Trainer with more than 30 years of experience working with Retail Financial Services through change projects, sales and compliance functions.

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