Do you work from home on a Monday? Turns out a lot of people do. And a lot of managers think you just want a long weekend. Here’s what Tony had to say on 3AW Radio recently.
Working from home more prevalent on a Monday post-lockdown. Is this ok?
Tony Wilson on 3AW Breakfast radio, 06-04-21
Well, new data shows that since the end of lockdown, fewer people are traveling and working in the CBD on Mondays than any other weekday. I found this surprising, and I thought if people were going to choose a day off, it will be a Friday.
Announcer 2 00:16
A Friday, yeah. And yet it's the Monday, Monday is it.
Announcer 1 00:19
So Tony Wilson – a workplace performance expert is joining us on the line. Good morning to you, Tony.
Tony Wilson 00:24
Announcer 1 00:26
Any reason the Monday?
Tony Wilson 00:28
Well, I think it depends a lot on how people set up their week, you know. The default is probably to say, well, you know, people want a long weekend, so they’re staying home Monday, but a lot of people spend Monday, getting ready for their week. So they start planning their week, they start planning all their meetings and that sort of thing. And that gives people a really great head start on the week to be able to do that with no interruptions.
Announcer 1 00:52
Do you think now that everything's changed since COVID - Is this going to be a trend? A long term trend? Do you think employers now need to accommodate this trend?
Tony Wilson 01:03
I think it absolutely will. I think we've seen it go from one extreme to the other. A lot of industries did not like people working from home at all, then we've had this kind of forced work from home period. And now we're trying to find the sweet spot of, you know, how much can people work from home and still be really productive? How much do we need them in the office so that they can collaborate? But, I think the businesses and the companies that really thrive will be the ones that work out this: How do we manage people in a way that we give them enough autonomy, to do their own thing, and yet still keep an eye on their productivity.
Announcer 2 01:37
Tony, what else can workplaces offer their employees, things that they could do to entice people back on Mondays?
Tony Wilson 01:45
Well, I guess, if people are a lot like me, then it'd be really, really hard to offer something to get them back in on Monday, because I absolutely hate Mondays. But, you know, I think if you put a lot of your collaboration-based stuff on a Monday and let people be able to set up their week, being able to collaborate with others and have some really important and engaging meetings on Mondays, and let people connect with their team - I think that would be one thing to get people in. But the other thing you have to be able to do is say, "Hey, this is what we're going to do, we're going to treat Monday in this way. So we get everyone in, but then there's going to be a day during the week where you can work from home” because people are craving that kind of sense of control and that autonomy that we get from working from home.
And don't forget that in a lot of cases, a lot of the research over COVID said that people were actually working up to 45 minutes more per day when they were working from home because we cut out that commute time. So don't just automatically assume that if people are working from home, they're not doing the right thing.
Announcer 2 02:50
Tony, just before we were talking about buying real estate in country areas for lifestyle, and there were plenty of folks who are moving to coasts and country areas due to workplace flexibility. But, is that work environment here to stay?
Tony Wilson 03:03
Yeah, you know, I really think it is. And it's gonna be very different for different roles and different businesses. I think one of the things we've really got to try to work out is if there are some roles in our companies where people can absolutely work from home a lot - and then there are some roles where people need to be in the office more - how do we kind of make that fair for everyone? How do we make it such that, you know, people will still want to do those roles that come into the office.
And I think we've also got to understand a bit about our people, too. Some people absolutely love going to the office and can't stand working from home, and others do like to work from home. And if we can kind of start to match up those things, then we start to get a more productive workplace. I think one of the things that we found during COVID, working with a lot of professional services firms who tend to know what their people are doing minute to minute, we found that people working from home, are actually more productive if they have a bad manager. So, if there's a bad manager that you know, makes them less productive at work, they end up being more productive when they're at home.
Announcer 1 04:09
Okay, so here's the question you're talking about earlier, Tony, about the sense of control that employees can have, how much should they have given the fact it's the employers paying the money? Should they have last call on what they should or shouldn't do?
Tony Wilson 04:24
Well, I think it depends on how you want to manage people, I think the notion of thinking that people need to be at their desk, that we need to see what they're doing every minute of every day, is a dying way of managing people. If we could sit down at the start of every week with every one of our employees and say, you know what: here's what I expect you to have completed by the end of the week, then we should be happy just going, okay - If they hand that in, then it's been a good week for them. You know, if they get to this level of work, then that's great. And that's kind of the level of autonomy that people want. It's not necessarily to say I only want to do these things. But they want to have a bit more control about how they go about doing them. And working from home really gives them an opportunity to do that.
Announcer 1 05:07
So consultation rather than confrontation, Tony.
Tony Wilson 05:10
Yeah, absolutely. Probably the other “ation” that's worth mentioning is collaboration. It's just about sitting down with your staff and saying, “you know, here's what I expect that you can complete by the end of the day or the end of the week or whatever.” And then understanding that if people actually do that, if they do it by three, then they do it by three, if they do it by five, then they do it by five.
But here's the thing about human nature: if you're my manager, and you give me something to do, and I need to complete that by five o'clock, I'll complete it by five o'clock, but if you say to me, "Hey, you can go home after you complete this." I can probably do it by three o'clock, but it's not like most people will finish it at three o'clock and then do more work. We just make the work last longer.
Announcer 1 05:55
Excellent, Tony. Thank you very much. Tony Wilson—Workplace Performance Expert.
** Tony Wilson is a Workplace Performance Expert focussed on helping leaders build the environment for high performance. His insights into performance science and it's application in the workplace will make you re-think the way that you approach leadership, culture change, high performance and productivity. Tony has an MBA and a BSc majoring in physiology and combines the two for a different perspective. He is also the author of Jack and the Team that Couldn't See and delivers workshops and keynote presentations around the globe.