My current role requires me to work across global teams, which means that sometimes I am on teleconferences at odd hours of the day (or video conference…which is so much more pressure because then I have to brush my hair instead of sitting in my pyjama’s with a cup of tea like I normally do).
Whilst clearly this is not always ideal because the lines between my personal time and work time sometimes get blurry. Overall, I love the way it forces our teams into a much more flexible culture and teaming environment…
Firstly…because we are on different time zones and in different offices…the whole concept of “being in the office” is less important. Who knows if people are sitting at their desk all day or where they are working? At first this seems like a weird kind of freedom…what if someone in the team is just slacking off and going to the movies? How do you know if everyone is working as hard as you are? So…the only option is to focus on outcomes. What work needs to be done? …Is the work getting done? Well…then people are working. And if they choose to go to movies in the middle of the day, I guess they can…as long as they get the work done that they need to. Which sets a totally different vibe of trust and responsibility across the team.
Secondly…work/life integration becomes second nature. When I first started joining some of these teleconferences, it felt a little awkward and distracting when you could hear dogs barking or traffic in the background. Since people are dialing in from all over the place, at all sorts of times, there are lots of none typical noises that you hear.
So…. on a call this morning, I had a huge smile on my face when I could hear a little girl singing in the background…and no one even blinked an eye (well..actually…maybe they did, because I couldn’t see them…but no one said anything…so I’m going just go with the presumption that they were all cool with it!). And when our Senior Executive stopped mid-update to say “just hold on a moment I have to eat my play dough spaghetti”, I realised how lovely it is when we accept that work and life sometimes overlap…it feels like a more “human” place to work.
Workplaces are changing….is yours?