Flex Work – It’s All About Control

Flex work, the ultimate, in control over our lives. Post covid, every person I talk to who can work remotely wants the option to do so, with coming into work only a few times a week. After all, we are professionals who can be trusted to do our work at any time. And what a gift to be at home to open the door for a repair man, throw in some laundry, use lunch to walk our dogs or go to a school event. Let’s not talk about the time saved from not commuting, that we think gives us hours back each week. Flex work is here to stay.

Is flex work what we think it is?

A year into this reality and we can all agree that all is not as rosy as it seems. Flexibility has eliminated any lines we had between work and home life. When working we are more distracted, and at home we are never present. Work has merged into our lives so that initial perceived freedom from the constraints of work feels like 24 hour work. And the initial extra time at home, seems to have somehow disappeared.

Yet we all still want that flex work for the promise it holds, of having it all. Work and home side by side, allowing us to maximize our time by not sparing a single second of our life as we operate at peek efficiency. Turns out peek efficiency has a price and not all of us can operate in that zone.

Peek efficiency robs us of moments of clarity, clear divisions in space and time, and exposure to what we don’t want in our lives. That commute home turned out to be time for us to take a break and think. A time and place for work turns out to give us the discipline to focus in each space. Exposure to what we don’t want in our lives turns out to make us narrow minded and less likely to understand others- gone are those “useless” conversations in the elevator, which in retrospect gave us fodder for good stories or even an unexpected contact that served us well at work and even at times our personal lives.

Is structured flex work the way to go?

There are ways to make flex work actually work for us. We need to intentionally create that structure that work imposed on us that we are attempting to escape through flex work.  We need discipline, structure, boundaries, privacy to live emotionally healthy lives and achieve job stability and success. With flex work, we get to create that structure instead of our employers creating it for us.

Made you think? Check this out: Who’s in Charge?