If you are reading this, know that I am not writing to convince you of anything. Rather, I am acting as a canary in a coal mine and simply sharing based on my experience. What you choose to do or not do with my message is totally up to you. That said, know that your life depends on it.
I am writing this on Saturday, October 10th, which is the 282nd day of the year. We are 77% of the way through 2020. There are approximately 2,080 productive work hours per year, working 40 hours per week; as a result, Monday, you will work somewhere between your 1,603th and 1,611th hours of 2020. This year of pandemic has been . . . challenging to stay productive at times . . . which doesn’t quite capture it. Perhaps you have experienced what I have experienced, which is days ranging from Wildly Productive, to a Dumpster Fire, to a Daily March, and everything in-between.
Saturday, October 10th, 2020, will at some point in the future exist as a moment in time between two dates of which you were born and then eventually die. Regardless of scientific advancements or even your most fervent hopes, you the reader, are and will remain a mortal being. Today is a day that will become the story of where you have been, And today is the first in a number of days that will tell the story of where you will go. Today is the first day, of the rest of your life.
Here is where I make one more assumption, which is that your life matters; That you serve some greater purpose and work each day to make the world and other people’s lives a little bit better than the day before. I hope that you have tied your life’s purpose to your work and that it is meaningful to you every day. That is why I am singing my canary song today. Because, you are alive today, but you are also one day closer to your inevitable death and I want today to REALLY matter for you.
I’ve watched an endless debate roll on over the last 15+ years, which has intensified in the last six months. It is a silver bullet debate which has ricocheted from objective to feelings to the inevitable as of late, political sphere. It has waged in the offices of CEO’s and CFO’s, in HR departments, and even at the dinner tables in our homes. This debate is around the experiment of which everyone had their own hypothesis but few if any have had answers. Mark my words, books will be written about this debate and this time we are living in. Social scientists, economists and leadership gurus will study the lasting impact of the decisions we make. Whether or not we have participated in the past, this decades long debate, has been thrust upon all of us in 2020 which is, “Can I and my company work from home and remain productive including being part of a high performing team?”
For so long this debate raged as one of fear and control, of lack of understanding of what the ramifications might be. It highlighted the issues with trust in organizations as well as technological hurdles to overcome. Now that we’ve lived through unprecedented times and are still navigating the “Great Work From Home Experiment of 2020” , I’ve watched this debate shift slightly to a new question, “does my company need this office space to remain productive and a part of a high performing team?” As tends to happen sometimes with human beings, the pendulum continues to swing.
There is a myriad of papers written which tell a story of a limited ‘if any’ loss of productivity from a work force that was essentially forced to work from home. Because two things can be true at the same time, there is now also a voice which is growing in resonance from deep within the coal mine. It is telling a different story, one of loss of productivity over time for groups that rely on collaboration. The reports are also showing diminishing returns from the technological solutions we’ve been utilizing. This article from Forbes, states that initial work from home productivity measures might be a mirage. And here from Bloomberg, studying employees from JP Morgan Chase, productivity dropped among many demographics in concerning trends for the future. In this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they outline “6 Ways to Keep Your Team Productive While Working From Home,” rather than leaving it to chance. Lastly, Here is an article about something you almost assuredly won’t have even be thinking about, dentists are seeing a large uptick in cracked teeth.
Presumably, this year, you have not been as productive as you could be. And, that’s OK.
We all learned a lot about ourselves and the world this year. In many cases we are the ultimate in adaptable creatures; Continuing to find ways to work and provide value for the world regardless of what new obstacle was laid at our feet. It’s been a weird year, a crazy year, and no one could have expected or fully prepared for what was in store. Now though, we (YOU) need to take what we have learned and implement it.
Because, YOUR life depends on it.
In ten years, how will you answer the question of what did you do during 2020 and what kind of year was it for you? Did the year happen to you? Or, did you decide that you needed to be the unstoppable force which you are capable of and happen to 2020? We are still in a time with a lot of uncertainty. We do not have all the answers. No one does. But the canary is singing its song from the mines. It is warning that if you wait too long, you will simply be a product of your uncertain surroundings rather than a leader in these times. The canary is reminding us that in 2020, you have a chance to be alive and to march forward meaningfully toward your life’s purpose. There are lots of things happening this year which warrant a cautious approach. Yet, it’s time to decide to act and to try something new.
Working from an office or from home is just a tool in your arsenal. It is not a silver bullet. Decide for yourself to try some things, maybe a combination of home office and in office time. Perhaps, it depends on the nature of your work, and maybe that even changes depending on the day. But don’t stay stagnant because otherwise today will not be the first day of the rest of your life but just another tally on a life that was once lived. You are alive today and I want today to REALLY matter for you.
If I can help you to try some things, Great! I’d love to. MAC6 has the most flexible office and coworking space in Arizona, where you don’t need to have the answers when you start. It’s an experiment and our spaces are your lab to try things out. Even if, the MAC6 office space doesn’t make sense for you, I’d love to help you start this discussion with your team and your company.
If you’ve also heard the canary, even a whisper of its song, I’m here for you to talk through solutions and make sure that when you’re ready, THAT day and the rest of your days will really matter. I look forward to talking with you and being a part of the amazing journey towards your life’s purpose starting with today.