How we work has changed, forever
Out from behind our office desk. End of the daily commute. That business trip is now a Zoom. Now that we've found freedom, why would we go back?
Summer's over. Kids are back in school, maybe on Zoom at the dining room table, maybe back in the classroom.
You’re back to work too. Where are you? Are you back the office while this pandemic wears on?
I see friends living their best lives (small “b”) while working and making the best of the situation we’re all in this year:
Taking a RV trip across the country
A spiritual retreat to Marfa, Texas
Getting in an ocean swim each day at noon
I'm surfing every day here in North Carolina
It's like we've all found freedom. Not having to go into the office has freed us up to reimagine how we work every day.
Why go on the business trips that could have been Zoom calls? Do I have to go into the office with a case of the Mondays, knowing I’m not going to get anything meaningful done today?
We’re all taking a break from the old way of doing things. And I’m here to say that we're not going back. Ultimately, we're going to be happier, healthier, and even more productive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made one thing clear. The way we work has changed.
The old office routine is over
It’s a familiar routine. We get in our cars every morning to come to the office, grab a coffee, start our meetings, and eventually sit down at our computer. We get behind the screens and get to work.
But how much of this time is really work? We check our Facebook, Twitter, jump over to our email inbox. Our emails are full of everybody else's priorities. Our calendar gets booked for a meeting. Then again for another meeting. By the end of the day, we wonder, did we actually get anything done other than answering emails all day.
I know I don’t feel at my most creative, productive or inspired when I am following the routine I should be doing - the 8 hour a day at your desk mentality.
The old routine - commuting, clocking 9-5 in the office, business trips - is a framework that is unnecessary and outdated.
Technology allows us to work anywhere
I am seeking working environments that are flexible and more suited to creativity. We’re all carrying iPhones in our pockets that are just as powerful as the computers were a on couple of years ago.
I'm writing this post right now dictating my thoughts into Otter.ai on my iPhone through my Airpods while I'm walking around The Loop because that's when I find myself at my most creative and energized.
We still need to gather
Of course, we still need to see each other in-person. But how often?
We’ll come back to the workplace (maybe you already have). But what will be the lasting changes that will stick with us?
Being together in person is critical for building relationships, trust, and having deep engaging dialogue. But for daily check-ins, we’ve all realized a Zoom will do.
The right rhythm for that depends on your company and your work. We’ll gather with our teams regularly, maybe weekly, monthly or quarterly. We’re already seeing demand at Launch Pad for recurring meeting space and team platooning in offices office usage.
Productivity requires flexibility during instability
The world is heading towards more instability in our daily lives that will require us to adapt. I'm evacuated to North Carolina right now because wildfires came ever-so-close to our home in Sonoma County, California. Disruptions in our lives caused by climate change, pandemics or otherwise will continue.
Somehow we all have to keep going, and unfortunately the level of disruption we face in our daily lives is not likely to decrease anytime soon. Which is why we must take advantage of the flexibility that technology can provide.
You no longer have to live where you work
Companies that provide flexibility in how their employees are able to work are beginning to make a competitive advantage. We're already seeing companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter begin to prepare for a future doesn't require all employees in the office every day.
This will lead to continued distribution of talent, a trend we've always worked to foster at Launch Pad because we know that talent exists everywhere. People will begin to be able to live and work where they grew up. We’ll move our families to towns and cities where the lifestyle suites how we want to live — whether it's the mountains, the beach or overseas.
Companies that embrace this type of flexibility and distributed work will benefit from the competitive advantage that it offers employees are going to seek agency in the same way entrepreneurs do.
Let’s design how we will work
I want to design my work around how I want to live my life.
I want to spend time with my daughter in the morning and go for a run, rather than commuting. I want to go for a walk to get my creative energy up before I have to write the blog post or a memo. This flexibility leads to greater productivity and a feeling of agency.
These changes will allow us to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Not being trapped behind the screens of the machines on our desks in the offices where we all have been sitting for the last 20 years.
Freedom. It's a beautiful thing.
How are you embracing a new style of work? What has changed in your life that is not going back when this is all over?
I'm Chris Schultz, and I am exploring the integration of life and work, the entrepreneurial journey, and the pursuit of agency in my new newsletter, Analog.
Analog is focused on using technology tools to create leverage so we can be more productive and creative in less time with more flexibility.
Analog is focused on reducing consumption of digital media, the ways in which technology traps us and turn us into zombies. Remember when our parents tried to limit our TV when we were kids?
Analog is about building community by being together in person. I want to celebrate family and friends in things that bring joy to life with our screens down.
I hope you'll join me on this journey and subscribe to Analog.