Just Say No, Don’t Go to Work – Get Telework Smart Now – Beating Traffic and the Coronavirus
Let’s start with how much time you commute. National averages such as 60+ minutes don’t really tell the whole story when you add in weather, traffic accidents, road rage, parking, time and money spent on car repair, insurance, gas/electricity and general frustration not including getting ready to go to work and then unwinding when you get home. You know how long you spend and the toll (not highway ones) on your life, personal and family relations and other negative impacts. Adding another 60 minutes for all that and then add actual drive time, let’s say 10 hours a week times 50 weeks a year (you may get four weeks’ vacation but only take two) you get 500+ hours a year or 21 days.
This number will be important in a moment but let’s see what happens when you get to the office. Let’s start with a few questions, can you change the color or your office, the lighting, the temperature, the furniture, or anything else? After far too many speaking engagements I often ask the audience, the answer is a resounding and often a loud NO. And, when people are also asked what they hate about going to the office, they also say they really hate meetings, the warm and friendly co-workers, horrible office space and for some its temperature, lighting, food service, noise, body and stinky food odor, cough/sneeze flumes and other comments that can’t be included for a number of reasons. Then let’s look what happens at the office. Surveys for decades have found that people spend a lot of time in meetings ranging for 40-60% or 4-6 hours of their working day. Depending on the position in the company they spend more time in meetings while others are lower. Then add in organizational communications in the form of email, IM, telephone, scheduling, filing and other miscellaneous activity often consumes 20-30% or 2-3 hours of the day. Other non-job related activities like training, company events, HR stuff and other things take about 10% or 1+ hours. At this point you are asking yourself; how much time is left to do the work you were hired to do. The answer is not much. The real answer is a bit illusive as you know what you do and each day can be different. Generally, what I have found after doing this research for decades is about 2-4 hours but only you know for sure. Where this is going is; let’s say for example, that you spend 2 hours a day commuting without adding in all the getting ready and unwind time. Now let’s say that you had a good day and got a lot of work done and were able to spend 4 hours doing the work you were hired to do and hopefully like to do. Now let’s say you didn’t have to go to the office, saved the 2 hours and were able to spend that time working. This means that you increased your productivity by 50% but wait there’s more, you were also able to work another 4-8 hours on your work. This gets a bit crazy because you now have a lot of extra time which you need to manage your time as most work is also related to what other people are doing. That is, you wait to get work, do the work, and the pass the work onto another person. If that is not the case, you could conceivable get a weeks’ worth of work done in one day. Now getting the rest of the organization to move with you or for you or in a new direction is often the problem. I call it organizational velocity and is a measure of how fast the organization moves and what are the delay points, process limiters, personnel delays, scheduling, hiring/firing and other factors which limit productivity and performance.
In the next article I will explore a communications-optimized organization based on telecommuting, telework or just working from anywhere. In the meantime, here is an indepth presentation for you and organization to use to build your own telecommuting plan. Should you want a live or webinar version of this presentation, click here.