Today I spent the day working from home. I’d been requesting (read as begging, bugging, sulking about) home access for over two years and the Olympics played a vital role in my request finally being granted. Maybe it’s the Olympics, or maybe it’s just my manager having enough of my moaning and granting it so I stop bugging him about how much more productive I’d be if I had it… either way, it’s here now which means on to my next mission, I’m torn between going back to my old request of a 6 month secondment to our China offices (to do intensive Manadarin alongside my work) or to find a new obsession such as getting to work from home a couple of days a week.
Working from home was an eye opener. I realised why I’m so grumpy and knackered by the time I get home. I spend up to 4 hours per day commuting. Walking, using the bus, overground, DLR and sometimes underground too depending on how the trains are running. That’s an awful lot of sweaty bodies, people standing within your personal space and germ sharing per day. Plenty of opportunities to lose you rag. It’s also a massive 20 hours of lost opportunities per day. Loss of time I could have still been sleeping in the morning, could have spent having quality time with Princess and The King, or even just doing nothing but letting my brain wonder and catch my breath.
I read that the average commute (in the UK) is just under 40mins each way which is interesting as mine is double that. Londoners have the greatest commute but it is also said that those who commute the furthest are paid more. If that’s the case I should be a millionaire (um I’m not by the way, so please don’t email me about paying your parking tickets)
Today,I finished work dead on 5 and was home at…5. Not ten minutes before 7 but 5. I switched off my laptop and that was the end of my work commute. I worked my butt off all day (it’s funny how you fear everyone thinking you’re slacking when you’re not face to face) and was probably more productive than I’ve ever been whilst at my desk. It was great that for the entire day I thought clearly, had no daft conversations to break my concentration and no random coffee runs. I absolutely love interaction with people but there was something very attractive about sitting down at the kitchen table next to my perculator and just getting stuck in.
The Olympics has opened up a world of possibilities for thousands of employees. Whether their work places are introducing more flexible working hours, more remote access or closer work ‘hubs’ this is a fantastic opportunity to challenge the traditional and somewhat outdated 9-5 model of working. I hope that come the end of August things don’t return to how it was Pre-Olympics and that (as long as productivity is positive) we are able to keep some of the flexibility adopted for The Games.