This situation may have something to teach us

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Written by Elke Edwards on 23 March 2020

Reading time: 2 minutes

Like everyone, I’ve been listening with interest to how businesses and indeed society is going to best meet the challenge of the coronavirus.

Last week I was due to go to a client meeting, but because of the client’s travel ban the five of us “met” on a conference call.

We had a great meeting – completed it in 60 minutes as opposed to the 90 minutes planned and none of us had to travel into London to do it. We saved money, time and the environment.

Then, on the radio yesterday, a Government minister was talking about how in the 1970s the three-day week was introduced. And how, contrary to all predictions, we pulled off a “production miracle” by producing almost as much as we had been when we were “open for business” on six days a week.

It strikes me that while the coronavirus is causing havoc in people’s lives and businesses, it also has a lot to teach us.

Being forced to look at how we habitually spend our working time may be something leaders should be encouraging

Is it time to take a really objective look at the work culture that has been silently evolving around us and check whether or not it is what we want?

It seems to me that in a time when we have so much incredible technology available to us, we are working harder and longer than ever before.

What if you were forced to work a three-day week for a while – what would you focus your time on? What would you do differently? And how would you use your spare time?

 



 

What if, within a normal working week you had time to spend time with family, exercise or just sit down and read a novel? What impact would this have on our lives? How we showed up for work? And, how productive could we be?

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting we work three days a week, become militant or give up face-to-face meetings – one of the reasons we had such a great conversation with our client is because we have all invested in the relationship – but I am suggesting that being forced to look at how we habitually spend our working time may be something leaders of all kinds should be encouraging. I for one will be.

 

About the author

Elke Edwards is the founder of Ivy House London.

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