It is hard to find positives as we come to terms with the coronavirus and its impact on society. Every parent I know is struggling to keep their children happy, healthy and entertained. Close friends have seen their income suddenly disappear, and the enormous lines around Centrelink offices are heartbreaking. And, of course, many people will get sick and many will die.
So I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation, but I do think there is a silver lining from this great disruption to our lives. Like many people reading this I’m now working from home. I’m lucky enough to have a job I can do from almost anywhere, as long as I have an internet connected computer. This has been true for a decade, but for a decade I’ve spent the majority of my working hours in an office. The question is why?
Well, for a start, humans are social creatures. We enjoy the camaraderie of the office and bouncing ideas off each other, and as annoying as the people you shared your cubicle with might have been you’re probably missing them right now. So I’m not expecting this forced work from home experiment to revolutionise the workplace, but I am hoping it will normalise working from home.
Over the last decade I’ve worked in truly flexible workplaces that treated their employees as adults, and in workplaces that talked a big game when it came to flexibility but in reality were only as flexible as each manager allowed.