What if I said that you could drop your mundane commute altogether and instead, make your face-to-face interactions with colleagues really count?
It has been suggested for decades that the concept of swapping our daily commute for a walk across a room in our own homes would be what most of us would be doing in X years (make your own substitution here). In reality, only a few companies truly embraced the concept, and it took a global pandemic to make many organizations even consider the idea beyond the odd work-from-home (WFH) day.
Government-enforced WFH has been so successful for some companies around the world that they have now decided that all employees may continue to work from home full-time after Covid 19. This model could be the way forward for many.
If you have been working from home for a while now, do you really miss the daily ride on a packed, hot, and often smelly underground train? Being stuck forever in traffic jams? Or wondering whose chewing gum has stuck your clothing to the bus seat? Commuting is boring and uncomfortable.
Have you found that since working from home, you suddenly have more time? If we commuted at the rate recorded in 2019, we would each spend the equivalent of 492 days of our lives needlessly suffering.
WFH makes a lot of sense for personal well-being. It means spending more time with our families, time to go for walks, and time to hear the birds sing or appreciate the environment around us. Best of all, we would get an extra year of our lives to live, whilst we are young enough to enjoy it.
We are starting to see the return of village life, local businesses, and corner shops. Communities are becoming real communities again. People are getting to know their neighbors, when in some cases they have lived near each other as strangers for many years.
I’m not saying that we should WFH exclusively. We do need to attend meetings, events, conferences and team-building exercises in-person. What we should do, however, is make sure that all of these events are well-planned and provide a good return-on-investment. We need to make these meetings really count.
Human beings are a sociable, interactive bunch and important decisions are best made when you can look somebody in the eye. Team building is important and this is more successful when you bring people together. Meeting somebody face-to-face is still the best way to bond.
If less money is spent on office space, there will be more money to improve the quality of in-person events and activities when we need them. A company can invest in travel and accommodation options that make attendees feel that they are valuable to the company as individuals.
If we get rid of our boring daily commutes, we'd have more room in our working lives for interesting and rewarding business travel.