“If we have to go back to the office full-time I will quit”: Working From Home & Agility
“If we have to go back to the office full-time I will quit”: Working from home and Agility
On 27th April 2021, Sophie Vershbow sent out what would become a viral tweet, declaring that there has been a dissonance between April 2020 and April 2021 when it comes to working from home. In this tweet Vershbow said that in April 2020 she was of the opinion that “working from home sucks” but now, after twelve months, her opinion has changed to “If we have to go back to the office full-time I will quit”
In 2017, Anne Calento hosted a TED Talk where she discussed the idea of working from home and how it could significantly improve the working culture in society. In this talk, she discussed the significant changes that would occur with regards to climate change, accessibility and feeling valued in a company.
Daniel Pink said that the best way to increase motivation within an organisation, and avoid what Chris White refers to as “becom[ing] disengaged, or actively disengaged” is to provide tools and space to allow autonomy at work, mastery of their craft and skills or the feeling of purpose whilst doing their job. Can this happen at home?
Autonomy; the freedom to work in the way that you see fit can certainly be achieved as easily in a corporate setting as it can while sitting on the sofa, in your dressing gown with Kerrang on in the background, nursing a latte from your favourite mug. How do we know? Because on an international scale, due to the extent of the Covid19 pandemic, this is happening even twelve months after the UK announced their first national lockdown.
Being in a scenario where the government were able to go above and beyond every corporation in the UK at once meant that within hours, bosses had to work out how best to adapt; managing to provide a reasonable quality of work and service, until it could be further refined after staff feedback. Receiving this feedback allowed companies to provide a better working environment within the company, despite the distance between the employees.
This, of course, as Anne Cantelo said, positively impacted the environment. In 2017, the World Health Organisation’s cap for pollution in London had been reached by January 6th 2017; before “most of us even got back from Christmas holidays” . Following this she suggested that even working from home, one or two days per week would significantly improve the climate situation.
In comparison, in an interview with The Guardian, back in March 2020, Professor James Lee a scientist at the University of York and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, said “There is no silver lining to the Covid-19 situation, but I think it shows we can actually achieve quite a lot without travelling. It shows that if we did work from home more in normal times then we would have an effect on air pollution.” In October 2020 The Guardian also found that during the first nine weeks of the UK lockdown, nitrogen dioxide on the roads of London’s had decreased by an average of 31% compared to before the country entered lockdown.
“There’s a lot of people, who are highly skilled but they can’t work and are economically inactive simply because they cannot travel.” However, now many major corporations have demonstrated that they do have the resources and have had a year in which to hone these new skills, to make space for people with disabilities that may not be able to get to work every day, whether that’s due to inaccessibility of the London underground system. You may be unsure about how this could be the case. However, there are a grand total of 270 stations in the London Underground network, and a mere 82 of these stations have step-free-access. This is, obviously, not enough. This limits disabled people’s autonomy within the city, and, during busy periods such as rush hour, getting to a place in London by 9am, when you can only manoeuvre a mere 82 stations, is impossible. Having the option to work from home, for example on days your local tube station is closed for network engineering works, etc. would allow disabled people as well as able-bodied people the freedom to continue to work in the city, without needing to leave for work, hours in advance.
We hope that more organisations will continue to practice agile working in the form of working from home. With the structure now firmly in place, scrapping it would be a waste. Especially if it does allow access for those who make feel ostracised by the working world: like people with disabilities, people that are pregnant, parents etc. Considering the fact that over 53,000 users on Twitter had liked Vershbow’s tweet within less than twenty-four hours, the consensus of the masses is clear. This form of agility is the right way to go.
Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.
He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.
The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.
To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org