Functional Workers Demand and Deserve Better From Employers

            I embraced the idea of remote work really early in the pandemic. I always believed that there was a more efficient way to get traditionally office-based work done rather than through commuting and remaining stationary at a desk from nine to five.
            I have never been a supporter of meetings because I have believed that they are often too long, unfocused, and time-wasting. The pandemic has shown us that many workers and managers agree.
            The pandemic presented us all with an opportunity to redesign how work can be done. For those who had enough foresight to embrace the new model and refine it to their needs, the results have shown that employees are happier, more productive, and more efficient.
            Now, as the pandemic is slowly being brought to its knees, we are facing the question of how we are going to do our work moving forward. Are we going to simply view the pandemic as an earthquake from which we rebuild by returning back to the way things were?
            Or instead, are we going to recognize that the seismic changes in the workplace that were caused by the pandemic have refashioned the way work will be done in the coming decades?
            I am a believer in the second notion, but not everyone, including many in my line of work, agrees.
            The labor market has changed, and we are living through what is being termed the “great resignation.” Workers are using newfound leverage to help redesign the workplace in a way that is more satisfying to their needs and allows them to live the fuller lives they desire.
            The changes brought about by a nearly two-year pandemic have made workers aware of the lives they could and should be living. And workers are no longer accepting of the lives that have essentially been forced upon them by the demands of a now-outdated labor market.
            The facts are that talent is talent and antiquated rules are unnecessary to release that talent. An exceptional employee will be exceptional whether she is doing the work between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. or 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. She will be exceptional whether she is doing it in a non-descript office building or while sitting by the pool in her backyard.
            Functional workers who can get their work done in three hours will no longer tolerate sitting at a desk for eight hours, commuting for another hour, and wolfing down their meals while passing through their homes and neighborhoods for the remainder of their waking hours.
            As these changes take hold and become foundational, the law will necessarily have to adapt. How will overtime hours be calculated? How much paid time off will be necessary? Will paid time off even be a consideration for workers? Will workers be expected to work even a few hours a day even when taking “time off.” Will workers object to checking in or handling occasional issues when otherwise traveling with families or friends? Will sick time be necessary for those dealing with a child’s illness or a parent’s convalescence?
            The workplace has changed forever. Soon it will be necessary for norms and laws to catch up. That day is coming fast.

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