Most people agree that they are more productive working from home. Work gets done faster because there are fewer interruptions and people are allowed to prioritize without distraction.
Moreover, by working from home most people cut their commute by about 2 hours each day.
(Frankly, I’m not sure how I’ll ever deal with rush hour traffic again now that I’ve seen the other side.)
Assuming you sleep 8 hours a day, by cutting out your commute you gain 12.5% more quality free time. That is significant.
Although I won’t attempt to quantify it, you also gain time by being more productive working from home. Realistically, you’re gaining more than 2 hours a day (i.e. more than 12.5% extra quality free time).
This extra time is a life-changing gain you can reinvest in your work, side projects, hobbies or family. Used wisely, these time investments can help you generate a second income stream, improve family ties and live a more fulfilling life.
You gain more than time
In addition to time, working from home improves your health and saves you money. No more coffee room ambushes, late buses, face time, toilet searches or itchy pants. More time for working out, eating vegetables and hanging out with people you actually like. All this is good for you.
Then there’s the money saved on lunch, dry cleaning, coffees and office attire. I’m barely trying and I’ve cut my spending in half. Working from home can help you reach your financial goals – emergency fund, retirement savings, financial freedom – much faster.
You get my point.
While there are some downsides to working from home, there are many upsides. This is why most people don’t want to return to the office.
So why do executives want to return to the office?
The only people I know who are really pumped about getting back to the office are executives or other people with senior ranks within an organization. This is because most executives are extroverts.
Extroverts are awarded extra points by society. They are automatically considered to have leadership qualities because they love to schmooze with people. Justified or not, for this reason extroverts tend to rise to the top of organizations.
Extroverts tend to get off on meetings, impromptu chats, after-work drinks and coffee dates. This is their key to success within an organization. Regardless of the quality of their deliverables, their extroversion helped them become likable, relatable and promotable ‘leaders’. Before we all started working from home, this was their game and they played it well.
The funny thing is some extroverts mistake talking and socializing as ‘work’. Sure, the talks might be related to work, but most are pointless circle-jerks that accomplish nothing. And many conversations or meetings that do accomplish something could have easily been replaced by a 5 minute email.
Many of these people thrive on the inefficiency of daily corporate bureaucratic life. Have you ever felt like you’ve had the same meeting over and over for months? This is the ‘more talk, less do’ strategy unconsciously driven by many extroverts. Of course, work does eventually get done. But my observation is that it gets done because it is delegated to disciplined introverts who value output over endless chats.
Working from home changes the game.
Suddenly, the formula for success is flipped upside-down. Without a channel to direct the incessant shit talk, those in your face extroverts fall apart and conscientious introverts are the ones keeping the company moving. Indeed, this is the opportunity for introverts to demonstrate where value is truly created.
When stuck behind a desk at home, many extroverts simply cannot function. If you don’t already know who they are, they are the ones who are booking all the virtual team meetings and conference calls. They’re trying to justify their existence in this new work from home world.
Note: For dramatic effect I’m probably being overly critical of extroverts. They do have a role to play and many do deliver fantastic results. However, I have particular ‘extroverts’ in mind as I write this article. You probably know a few that fit the description. But you probably also know a few that are truly genuine, caring people that make things happen. Also, not all introverts deliver. Some are totally useless and get tripped up by their own introspection.
Introverts: Use this opportunity wisely
While the corporate office environment is ideal for extroverts, the work from home environment evens the scale between introverts and extroverts. Now’s the chance for introverts to step up, deliver and show the world what they can do.
Create value for your business and promote your work. The chains are unshackled, so when emailing a new report (or whatever) CC a few more people than usual. Share it with all the people in your organization that might be interested.
At the same time, use this opportunity to break out of the introvert shell by speaking more on conference calls. It feels safer than in-person meetings, so do it. In fact, if you really feel inclined, book a few of your own calls to showcase your work.
Finally, don’t let the loudest, most talkative people at the company dominate the conversations. Let it be known how you’re benefiting from working from home and how it ultimately benefits the company. If the executives are the only ones speaking on behalf of staff, returning to the office will be the only option.