In a recent CNBC article, several conventional employers chimed in on how they’re changing their physical offices to lure employees back. A common theme was the idea that workers have many benefits to them within their homes that traditional offices don’t offer. These are things such as the ability to work in varying locations, the presence of rest spaces, easy access to the outdoors, no commute, etc.
For me, the ability to work in varying locations (my desk doesn’t always inspire creativity) or step outside with my dog when I need to clear my head is huge. I also appreciate the easy access to my kitchen (no more packing lunches!) and the ability to have a quiet workspace (even when I worked in an office building, I never had a private office).
I asked Community members and Upwork team members to share what they appreciate most about a flexible work environment and here’s what they said:
“I definitely feel that I can live a healthier lifestyle by working from home but I also know that some people are the opposite.
As a woman, I feel a lot safer being able to work from home and avoid potentially hazardous situations. There are also fewer opportunities that open the door to things like sexual harassment that you completely avoid by working from home and I think that's a good thing.”
- Abigail B., Freelancer
“I enjoy the holistic approach flexible work provides. For me, the ability to cook a proper meal and work during what I consider my "peak product time" is invaluable. The proper meal ensures I am fueled throughout the day and helps me withstand some of the longer meetings or working hours. For some, it may seem small but I find it critical to grinding through a workday.
Additionally, some of my best thoughts, breakthroughs, etc. come when I am in the middle of a walk in the park or during the morning time. I tend to peak after lunch and the normal work office does not provide the ability to get a proper 15-20 minutes break (I am sure some do but my experience is minimal due to the amount of after-lunch meetings). Overall, flexible work enables me to be productive at my best times of the day and take a holistic approach, making it easier when work gets busy, meetings get long, and deadlines approach.”
- Christopher F., Content Program Manager, Upwork Community
“Although it’s hard to pinpoint what I appreciate the most about a flexible work environment, I can say that a flexible work environment has completely changed my life. So I guess you could say what I appreciate the very most is the flexibility itself.
The mental flexibility, the creative flexibility, the environmental flexibility–these have all been positive contributing factors to my quality of life.
With this type of work environment, I am able to breathe. My creativity no longer feels limited by the confines of a concrete building and cubicle, there’s flexibility in where (and when) I come up with ideas, and the pressure of a stifling environment is no longer there. Some of my best ‘ah ha’ moments come when I step outside and let myself breathe; something I was rarely able to do when working in a traditional environment.
It’s my humble opinion that a flexible work environment should be an employment opportunity for every job, every career, every industry. There’s a lot of untapped brilliance out there and if more people were able to have flexibility and room to breathe, there would be a lot more ‘ah ha’ moments and overall happier human beings.”
- Mindy M., Content Program Manager, Upwork Community
“I most appreciate the independence and self-determination that naturally flows from a flexible work environment. I can steer the day's course with a degree of privacy, which contributes to the creation of uninterrupted emotional and mental space. Such a space--especially for work--promotes feelings of well-being, tranquility, and creativity.”
- Shannon L., Content Writer, Upwork Community
Workplace safety is a serious concern that can be assuaged by remote work. Another common theme among these responses is the concept that some of our best ideas come to us when we’re not chained to a desk. The freedom to take a walk (or even work outside!) drives innovation and creativity in many people. I too find that great ideas tend to bubble to the surface when I’m taking a breather outside with my dog.
It will be interesting to see how companies evolve their workspaces to meet the flexibility demands of the workforce. They may be surprised by how much innovation the evolution of the workspace can drive.
What do you appreciate most about a flexible work environment?
If you’d like to share your thoughts on topics like this for future blog posts, consider joining the Community Contributors group.
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