April 26, 2022 Message to the Membership
Posted on April 26, 2022 in Message to the Membership
I don’t know about you, but I suspect my experience isn’t all that unique, so I’m bound to think that this is not limited to me. But I’ve had a couple of recent head-scratching experiences with considerably delayed administrative functions (invoicing and reports) from large organizations. And it just so happens that these organizations have been working from home (and continue to do so) since the pandemic began in March of 2020.
Without identifying them, one is a large corporation and another is a government entity. Under normal circumstances, both of these administrative duties would have been handled within days of their month-end and/or year-end processes. In both instances, however, an inexcusable delay (ie: several months) took place.
I have a little theory about this. I’m pretty sure that these tasks would have been handled in a far more timely way if the employees had in fact been working in an office environment.
I know I’m probably going to be labeled as being out of touch, or even better, a derogatory term like a dinosaur, a boomer, or an ageist. So be it. I’m also an employer who likes to see stuff get done. And in an office environment, stuff typically gets done or the employee can have the opportunity to not get stuff done elsewhere. That’s life.
Adding another layer to the theory that I hold, I think this working from home experiment and/or hybrid model are going to be flashes in the pan; in other words, short-lived in the long term. Not only do I think employers (and their customers) are going to soon tire of the inconsistencies in the delivery or service, but the employees themselves are going to get sick of it.
What is he talking about? I love working in my pajamas he/she/they say.
Well, in this particular case, I know whereof I speak. Please allow me to elaborate.
Before landing this gig, I was a self-employed entrepreneur, who made a decent living as a freelance journalist or contract writer. I did this for 17 years. For the first seven of those years, I worked exclusively from home.
This was by design, as my wife and I were able to work around each other’s schedules, and as such, had minimal childcare expenses. (In those early years it was as much out of necessity as by design, mind you.) But anyway, I happily worked from home for seven years (a short period, I might add in the long term).
Another interesting tidbit to add in here, is that I’m an introvert by nature. This might strike many of you by surprise, because I’m a fixture at every networking event we hold (unless I’m going blind at the time), plus I’m at many other networking and community events of other groups and organizations. And I do so willingly and happily. But that’s my day job (plus some nights).
Whereas in fact, my natural inclination is to be alone and enjoy that. Which I have done. Professionally for seven years. And I thrived in that environment. I was never one to be distracted by many things that people who work from home often are; things like domestic duties, walking the dog, or what some may refer to as ‘walking’ the dog, watching television etc.
But here’s where things get a wrinkle… by the end of that timeframe, I needed to get out. I needed to have an office environment. I needed to have colleagues and people with whom to socialize. I needed adult time, not exclusively childcare time. (You see, whether I was working or not, my most frequent interaction was with my children.)
It may have been exacerbated by the fact that my home office was in our basement, which had a tiny, north-facing window, and I was working a lot, meaning I had little to no sunlight. So I was likely suffering some effects of sunlight deprivation.
My point of this illustration is to say that even for me, a person who’s innately wired to work in a home office, and as it turns out was able to thrive in that environment, it ultimately was not satisfactory.
People are social animals. We need to be among other people. We need that stimulation. We need that connection. We need that dialogue and conversation. It’s what makes us human.
So, if you’re reading this from your pyjamas and taking issue with my train of thought, I welcome that. I likely would have to at a certain point in my career.
But let’s talk in seven years. Or sooner for many of you, I’d bet. And if you’re lucky like me, it will be of your choosing. But I’d also bet for many of you it won’t be.
Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well, but most of all, be kind.