So Ressler and Thompson took a leap with their pilot program, telling the participants that they could work whenever, wherever, as long as the work got done, without the need to commit to a fixed schedule in advance or even announce their decisions. There were more complaints from some of the managers. “How will I know people are working if I can’t see them?” they asked. “How do you know they’re working just because they’re in the office?” Thompson replied. “People are sitting in their cubes, going to meetings, grumbling about how busy they are, but are they actually making progress on measurable results?”
— an excerpt from How to achieve sustainable remote work by Cal Newport.
While I was fresh out of college, I was grateful to be hired by a government agency that aims to address energy concerns on our island. Filled with expectations about what it is like to be finally in a platform that makes things happen in real life with real consequences, I can’t wait to become the person I wanted to be.
(I know you’re expecting a twist somewhere. Ha!)
Like all expectations, I never thought some systems could kill creativity, and perhaps, enthusiasm.
It’s incredible how you could be trapped between admin hurdles and having too much time under your sleeve.
Despite being in the office eight hours every day, the tasks seemed to be inexhaustible, and at the same time, so much time is gone wasted in between the hours (and you’re not allowed to do other things too!)
Perhaps, I was expecting a different kind of workplace (I never knew existed then).
Four years later, I finally found myself in a kind of work that trusts you to deliver your work even if you’re working wherever and whenever — a results-oriented workplace.
I liked how Seth Godin put it this way:
But in many pockets of our economy, the new jobs and the best jobs aren’t task jobs. They are jobs of initiative. Work that’s taken, not simply assigned. Work that can’t be easily forecast, and work that thrives with a different sort of teamwork. — from Tasks or initiatives?