What is it that has us not want to go back to our old experience of ‘the office’?
Executives and other professionals around the world are unwilling to go back to their pre-2020 work experience as a result of the pandemic. Working for the same company, the dreaded commute, long work hours, and unending travel is no longer an acceptable way of living. Hundreds of thousands of professionals are re-considering their careers, their lifestyle, and what is truly important to them in life. Several of my clients have said ‘the old way was unsustainable and now that I’ve had a taste of a more balanced life, I won’t go back again.’
For the first time, we can integrate all of the aspects of our lives into a single day.
That’s the big ah-ha. Most of us never realized how balanced our lives could be when we DON’T go into an office or travel every week. While boundaries have been difficult in managing all the disparate aspects of our lives all in one place – at home – for many of us our life balance is working! For the first time, we can integrate all of the aspects of our lives into a single day. We no longer are focused on work activities (including commuting) from 7a-7pm and we don’t have to wait until nights and weekends to get the rest of life attended to. We are learning how to weave all of it into our day-to-day lives including cooking, walking the dog, exercising, reading, connecting with loved ones, gardening, sit-down meals, shopping, and mowing the grass. And we are finding new ways to gather in person with those we work with to solve problems and make decisions while keeping connections strong and trust high. In fact, so many of us are healthier and happier working mostly from home, we may start to see lots of changes in the greater world of work.
Perhaps, this change can help us evolve as a species in how we integrate work and the rest of our lives into a new way of being – forever. Ken Wilber, the author of ‘A Brief History of Everything’ says that evolution happens when we transcend the old way AND include the best of it in the new solution. Transcend and Include. It’s not like we toss out the baby with the bathwater. Instead, we take the best elements of what is being transcended and include them in the new way of being. This helps us move from who is right and wrong, to what is right for us, which sets us free to allow others to choose what is right for them.
Instead of focusing on going back to the old way of doing it all in a new way, consider what parts you would like to keep and what parts need to change.
For me, one thing I would keep is the new IT infrastructure that has been created by organizations across the world to keep everyone connected. One thing I would let go of is the dramatic increase in online convenience shopping (myself included!) and encourage/incent people to support their local economy and be supported by those resources. Another thing I would keep is the ability to start work at 9a and be done by 5-6p and have those 3 hours before and 3hrs after work to integrate the rest of my life. Most people I know have gained at least 3 hours in their day (including the commute). Some of them are simply working 3 more hours with the extra time. Most of them have found ways to enjoy the slower pace of a more balanced life – and they’ll never go back. It’s time to make your own list and start the dialogue.
How can you find and keep the new balance?
EXPLORATION: In today’s exploration, I invite you to consider your new balance going forward:
- One thing I would like to keep doing going forward is: ____________
- One thing I would like to stop doing going forward is: ____________
- My biggest fear in making these changes is: type in here: ____________
- One way I can start sharing what I want and don’t want going forward is: ____________