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For those who have been around for the past 18 or so months work remotely, moving from home and back to work can be (or has been) challenging. It’s not necessarily about working longer hours – if at all, then can shorten about the time we spend on work – but more about the loss of autonomy remote workers gained during the pandemic.
“If someone isn’t looking at you all the time, your choice is how things are done.” DR. Arvind Malhotra, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, recently said the BBC Worklife, notes that “little things” like a quick afternoon stroll or 10 minutes to fill the dishwasher can make a big difference.
So how can we retain at least some of the independence that we have gained through working remotely and bring it back to the office? Malhotra shared an article with author Kate Morgan for. further insights into how we can achieve this BBC working life.
The sooner you bring it up with your manager, the better
While some employers are announcing policy changes – like the ability to work remotely one day a week – before employees return to the office, many others expect people to come back and pretend it’s 2019 and the whole pandemic situation never happened.
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Either way, find out which (feasible) aspects of remote work you would most like to keep and discuss this with your manager – the sooner the better. (Ideally before you go back to the office.)
“I think if you give up spatial and temporal autonomy and come into the office, you have to talk to your manager and negotiate flexibility about what you want to work on.” Malhotra told the BBC. “If you come in and do your job the way you are told, there may be more creative, innovative work that gives you more autonomy.”
Maintain control “at the micro-task level”
Okay, maybe you weren’t able to negotiate a pajama-inclusive dress code for the office or the ability to do so work remotely permanentlybut, according to Malhotra, there are other ways to hold on to your autonomy – especially at what he calls the “micro-task level”.
Whether or not people noticed it, they likely did so while working from home. “We blocked certain times to do what we had to do and gave ourselves space and time to think.” he told the BBC. “I think practicing this habit has to come back to the office with us. There are autonomies that you can regain in your nine-to-five. “
This can include things like avoiding back-to-back meetings (if possible) or blocking a few minutes on your calendar at times of the day when you know you could use a quick break to recharge. No, it won’t be the same as working from home, but at least you’ll feel like you have some degree of control over your day.