I’m out of the office…… but that doesn’t mean I’m not contactable. How many of us say this? Having an office-based job in this industry with today’s technology means that I can literally work from anywhere. Does that mean if I’m working from home or on my way back from a meeting at 5pm I turn off all communications with my clients – definitely not.
Fifteen or twenty years ago a 9-5 job meant just that, we started at 9am, left the office for our lunch hour, and finished at 5pm. We didn’t take personal calls during the working day or have an extended lunch break because we had errands to run. But times have changed.
People call it a work/life balance. But it’s not. We now have ‘work/life integration’. As long as your employer appreciates that the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter what time of day, or even what day of the week it is, as long as it gets done on time.
We live in a 24/7 society, so it’s not about when and where, or how many hours we work, it’s about getting the job done regardless of the time or place. It needs to work both ways though – if I have to run a personal errand or deal with a family matter during the 'working day' then so be it, I can. Why? Because my boss appreciates the fact I don’t pack up and run out of the door at 5pm like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight. If a family member needs me during the day that’s fine, I can take a call or go to their rescue without feeling guilty and visa-versa – I’ve answered many work emails during a family dinner.
But, we need to embrace this for it to work. We need to accept the change and take responsibility for getting our work done, without someone monitoring our every move. What does it take to achieve this? Well I’ve found the most important thing is to be organised – those who know me well know I’m a little OCD when it comes to that! I can just see you sitting nodding as you read this.
We also need to be flexible and take advantage of the technology we have, a conference call, even a video conference can be done from anywhere and at any time of the day. If one of my clients is in back-to-back meetings all day, and I need to take a brief, and they can’t do it until 7pm – I’ll get home have dinner and give them a call – pad and pen at the ready. But remember we need to set boundaries too and learn to say no if something conflicts with an important personal matter – we all live in the same world and clients and colleague alike will understand.