It’s Not Just About “When” You’ll Work, But “Where” and “How”

For the past two weeks, I have traveled the country to share the skills we need to flexibly manage our work+life fit day-to-day (tweaks) and at major transitions (resets) in partnership with our employers.

My experience on the road has reinforced that most of us have no idea how to capture and use work flexibility, intentionally, to meet our needs and exceed expectations on our jobs.

There is a massive 65% flexibility “how to” knowledge gap. It’s occurred because 82% of full-time U.S. workers say they have some form of informal or formal flexibility in how, when or where they work, but only 17% of employers train their people how to use it. That assumes you work for one employer. If you don’t, then no one teaches you anything.

We’ve thrown everyone into the work flexibility water without lessons and said, “swim,” then wonder why so many of us still cling to the side of pool not sure how to move forward.

One area of confusion I hear often is that most people still think managing your work+life fit is simply a matter of good time management. Actually, it’s not.

In a world without clocks and walls to tell us where work ends and the other parts of our life begin, “when” we are going to accomplish a particular action or priority is important. But you also have to focus on the “where” and “how.”

It’s a “what, when, where and how” practice.

For example, according to a new study by Regus:

  • 82% of workers in the NY Tri-State region said that they spend at least one day per month working outside of their office.
  • 62% felt that their employer expects them to be available to respond to work issues during this time.
  • But only 18% said that they actually got work done if they were outside of their office, between meetings and had free time.

Why? Because they had no good place to actually do work. Restaurants, coffee shops and airports are noisy, and unpredictable.

As as result, many respondents ended up taking care of personal tasks during that down time, like shopping, walking around or answering personal emails.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending time on personal activities as long as it is a deliberate work+life fit choice. Unfortunately, it seems that for many it’s a default response to a lack of quality in between “not in the office, but not at home” workspace.

Thankfully that is changing. Organizations like Regus, WorkSnug and other specialized, membership based co-working entities like In Good Company, are offering drop-in, temporary, co-working options in major cities across the world.  I have made it a point to learn as much as I can about these new, flexible workspaces because they are an important solution that most of us don’t think about.

As you look at your work and personal “to dos” for the upcoming week, don’t be afraid to schedule multiple meetings in a location knowing you will have a place to go in between and still be productive. You don’t have to hope you will find a free table and power source at the local Starbucks.

Today, flexibly managing your work+life fit is not just about “when” you get everything done. It’s also about “where” and “how”. More “not the office but not at home” in between co-working spaces expand the possibilities. They allow you to be more intentional about how you choose to make what matters to you happen, on and off the job. Find them, and strategically use them. I am!

Do you think about “where” and “how” you will do you job and manage the other parts of your life each week, or do you primarily focus on “when?”

For more, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost , “Like” our Facebook page, and sign up for our weekly Flex+Strategy/Work+Life Fit Insights newsletter.