The UK is very traditional. I myself would happily say I’m a traditional fella.
There are some traditions that we keep simply because we like them while there are others that we stick to for no reason- even if that tradition inhibits us.
Business is a great example of the ‘Old World’ trying to control the new.
There are many jobs that demand a person to be in a set area. Factory work can’t be done from home. Nor can care-work or hospital staff.
That being said, there are a huge number of jobs that don’t need someone to be in an exact area.
The idea that someone who works online needs to be in an office to do their job has been demolished this year.
I have been saying for years to companies in the UK that I do not need to be in their offices to do the job they want me to do.
I’ve never said that I would never head to the office, but as a regular trip where leaving my home costs me around £100 and perhaps 4 hours traveling is not something I would ever support.
While this can initially come across as arrogant with an attitude that I am owed something- the truth is it is purely practical.
I have worked with companies based in the US, Canada, and China.
I’ve worked in small to medium teams, headed departments, and run entire departments and projects by myself and I have done all of this from my home in the South East of the UK.
And yet, I hear from companies in the UK that they don’t think people work as hard from home…
Here is my morning routine for the average day.
Up at 6am(ish). Stretches and gentle exercises for 30-40 minutes. While I’m doing this my head automatically starts to think about content that I could put out for that day or the following day for my clients.
Is there a special day that is being celebrated in any territory for my clients? Is there a theme for the month that I should take note of? Is it going to be a single post or a string? Should it be a video or an image?
I’m sure you get the idea.
Around 6:45 am I have my first cup of tea in my hand and my laptop is turning on.
By around 7:15 am I have just put out the same productivity as someone who has been working for 4 hours. I feel refreshed, I am happy in my work and I am part thinking of what extra things I can do for the companies I am working with.
I am encouraged to do more work for these companies that my role doesn’t demand of me. Not because they have asked or they are setting targets- but because I am not tired or burnt out.
Now, let's pretend I have to travel to a city to do my job.
If I am lucky I am on a train at 6 am and traveling for 3 hours - but the likely hood is that I would have to be on the train for 5 am.
I would probably be late more often than not due to traveling conditions- problems with the tracks, delays, and so on.
If I get into the office at 9 am the first thing I do is grab a hot drink.
I am tired. I’m burnt before the days have started and I am watching the clock till I can take that 3-5 hours journey home.
I am doing no extra work for that company. I will not respond to messages or emails unless I am in the office. And on my days off, I will crash out and have my free time wasted.
Even if I live closer to the office, I am still burnt out.
Compare that again to me being at home.
I have started long before the workday and I am not stressed or tired. By midday, I have done more work at home than if I were in the office for the whole day.
Now my time is my time. Will I do extra for the companies that I work with? Maybe I’ll spend time with my loved ones or do my hobbies.
For me, as a human being, I get time to rest, time to keep me fresh and I get time to do the things that are important to me.
The company has what they need from me. I’ve made their money for the day.
And they haven’t had to pay for my travel for the day.
Sadly this is lost on so many UK companies even at the end of 2020. I recently was in talks with a company that insisted on having people in the office as much as possible (even with a global pandemic and in a country with the highest death toll in Europe).
Some traditions are nice. I will always wear an Albert chain when I wear a suit and if I have a pocket watch with live batteries I’ll wear that instead of a wristwatch.
But the tradition of working in an office when it just isn’t needed is something that will see the end of many businesses.
Long before I started this line of digital work, I was saying that companies need to be a lot more giving to their staff. The people that run the company.
There are school runs, there are family members that need looking after. There are so many more factors that need to be taken into account and in this day in age, the company that puts employees first, is the company that will be tomorrow's giant.
Tradition is fine.
Evolution is the future.