First published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly – Cover date 30.1.23
I have decided I only want to work when the weather is lousy. Fortunately, it is another grey old day out there so I am more than willing to stay indoors and elaborate.
Think of this as my personal contribution to the global movement towards Flexible Working Hours. FWH looks like it will be the biggest change to how we arrange our lives since the invention of the 8-hour working day in 1840. So not exactly a sudden move, right? But significant.
Which is why I want to get in on the ground floor while we’re still designing how FWH works in practice.
The current thinking goes that for lots of workers, being present in the workplace from nine-to-five, Monday to Friday, is less important than actually getting the job done. And if you can do the job in four days rather than five – more efficiently because you’re happier and therefore more productive – then everybody wins.
It feels important that we’ve finally recognised that being happy makes us better workers. This “happier” bit is generally about having more time with family, managing childcare better, and giving space to non-work activities you find fulfilling. Turns out we’re raising generations of Millennials and Gen-Zers who have been watching us work every hour god sends and they have decided, No thank you, they’ll have a bit more Me-Time in their week, that glassy-eyed hypertension doesn’t look as much fun as we talk it up to be.
Hard to argue against any of this given three years of a pandemic has provided ample evidence that you don’t even have to put your pants on for a meeting now it’s via Zoom. Though we should note that pants are still preferred at in-person meetings and do remind me to tell you that story sometime.
My personal preference for flexible work would be not to nominate particular days of the week to engage in the business of business. I just want to work when it’s raining, or windy, or bleak.
This is because I am fundamentally solar powered. True, a bit of caffeine is good for a boost, but it’s the sunshine that fills my tank. Give me a blue sky and I fairly bounce – not just out of bed – out of the house and find lovely things to do.
Though not before putting a load of washing on because wasting precious drying hours offered up for free by Mother Nature is rude. If someone said they’d pay your power bill you wouldn’t turn up your snoot, so I don’t know why you wouldn’t peg out your sheets and smalls under every available clear sky. It’s just manners.
Now, I appreciate the unpredictable nature of weather forecasting could make my work schedule equally capricious – you might worry I wouldn’t get a task completed during say, summer. And yet…
Think of how much work I would have done this particular summer – I’d barely have had a day off. Can I emphasise too greatly how many bleak days, stormy days, days of flood and ferocious winds we have had this January? Have you ever had more occasion to ponder that “global warming” was the most egregious misnomer ever coined, and that maybe we would have fixed it by now if we’d named it “climate disruption” rather than something sweet? Because honestly, never has a January felt so much like June.
Still, the kids are back to school in a minute. It often fines up around then.