Written by Maeve Belshaw - Co-founder of Soulful Soundwaves
Do you have a preferred place to work? Are you more productive in the office, working from home or sitting in a nice park with your laptop and your favourite tunes playing in your ears?
Now that the weather has started to get a little warmer in Sydney, I’ve started taking my laptop out to the back garden and working out in the fresh air. Results of this experiment: my productivity and creativity has sky rocketed! Which made me think... why?
I’ve had a number of roles in my career, most of them with inflexible working conditions requiring me to make my way into an office, sit at a desk for 8+ hours with air con blasting down my neck and with not a great deal of natural light. Would I have considered my work spaces relaxing or inspiring? No, that certainly wouldn’t be two words I’d use to explain it. Did my productivity suffer at the expense of my employer? Sure did as I’ve sat at a desk with writers block and seriously dry on ideas on numerous occasions. But when enough is enough and I pack up and take my work home, sit on the sofa in my pyjamas with my laptop and a cup of tea, the ideas started to freely flow.
The missing link hindering my productivity in the office = relaxation.
I’ve always been a full supporter of work from home policies, as I know my productivity is much better in a relaxed setting and at home. But it doesn’t work for everyone, or for all roles.
I’m a firm believer of the term: “Work is a thing you do, not a place you go.” It’s about how you work, not about where, and the productivity that comes with it.
However, being allowed to work how we want comes down to our employers. Wouldn’t it be great if the new way of working was measured in terms of outputs? Think of the change this would have on productivity and engagement – you can work wherever and whenever you like as long as you fulfil your role. Do you think everyone would be waiting patiently at the desk to pack up and leave the office at exactly 5.30pm when contracted hours have finished?
Yet, why do so many companies still require their employees to be present in the office and ‘working from home’ still has an air of skepticism around it? Are they worried that their employees won’t work as hard, or do they believe it is a decoy for sitting at home and pretending to work? Personally, if this is the case, it's a big red flag that the company doesn’t trust its employees. And if a company doesn’t trust its employees, how will the employees ever feel valued? Would you give your all to a company that doesn’t value you? I know my answer…and I think I can guess yours. As an employer paying the salaries, wouldn’t you want to get the most productivity out of your work force?
Anyway, my advice to all workers out there is to try and make your working environment (wherever it may be) as relaxing as possible. Maybe listen to some relaxing music, set yourself up in comfortable position or place yourself in a relaxing environment. Wherever and whenever you work, be relaxed. If you enjoy the space in which you work, your productivity and creativity will improve.
Let’s together work smarter, not longer!