“The COVID pandemic exposed societal issues across the globe.” In my last blog post, Health is Wealth, I discuss how the pandemic exposed concerns for human health. In this post, I will discuss issues of the modern day workplace that were exposed from COVID, and how Life as a young Entrepreneur affords me the ability to avoid these issues.
Remote Work? Yes Please!
The most common attribute of American society that was challenged by the pandemic, is the requirement for employees to work onsite. Due to employers’ Work From Home response to COVID, employees enjoyed the benefits of no commute, relaxed dress codes and the ability to work in comfort. People were able to work from their couch, dressed in pajama bottoms and formal tops, as meetings were held via Zoom video calls instead of a common area. With more time available in the day and less stress from the workplace environment, employees were generally happier with their work-life balance and more productive in their work as a result.
As for employers, many agreed with their employees’ sentiments in preference of a remote, or hybrid work environment. According to a Forbes article by Justin DeVerter, employees that work remotely reduce company “costs by $22,000” annually. Imagine all of the money that companies save if a majority of their workforce is remote! No more brick and mortar office buildings. Reduced costs on equipment. Combine that with a majority increase in productivity (see this Forbes article by Adi Gaskell for details of a study on employee productivity), and it is nearly impossible for companies to deny the benefits of employee remote work.
Of course, not all employees and employers are the same. Many prefer the in-person working style. Much of the workforce consists of parents whose worlds as caretakers and workers collided during the pandemic. Their productivity suffered as a result. Other employees enjoy the comradery that working in person offers. They prefer working with their team instead of in isolation. Additionally, some business requires people to work onsite in order to work effectively, and their products/services suffered as a result of the pandemic. There is a strong argument to be made for both sides, but that is why employees should be offered multiple options in their working capacity. We are all different and work better in different settings.
A 9 – 5 Workday? No Thanks
Another major challenge in the workplace that was exposed by COVID, is the standard 40 hour work week. Because of the pandemic, employees began to value their work-life balance more. They were tired of building their Life around work and desired more. Carrie Rich explains in her Business Insider article, “The pandemic has shown most leaders that flexibility is key.” “When they are given flexibility, employees are able to be even more productive.” Carrie Rich sites methods such as a 4x10 work week, or a performance/deliverable based work week, as possible solutions. Either way, the emphasis should be on flexibility. A standardized working solution does not work in a World where every person is unique and different. Dolly Parton’s infamous “Working 9 to 5” song doesn’t seem so upbeat anymore. We are all different and work better at different capacities.
The (A)typical Workday of Ian, a Young Entrepreneur
My workday is atypical, and I love it. I wake up at 6:30, walk 3 miles, stretch, exercise, meditate and journal (my Meditation blog provides insights and advice for all those interested). Then I eat breakfast and start work around 10 AM. I take a lunch break around noon and then continue my work. I generally work into the evening, but leave time for dinner, of course. I am a workaholic. I enjoy work. I try to give myself time at the end of the day to decompress, but my morning routine always helps to refresh and prepare me for the day ahead.
My workday is flexible, and I love it. Being that I am consulting for work, I am always completing different tasks on a day-to-day basis. I build a To Do list early in the day to keep myself on track. I then choose my tasks throughout the day based on what I want to do on my list, in that moment. Sometimes I feel like writing and creating content. On occasion I like to focus on my finances. Other times I like to post on social media or edit websites. Whatever I feel like doing in that moment, I do. As long as I complete most, if not all of my tasks on my To Do list, I am satisfied.
My workday is mine, and I love it. I do not like starting my workday at 9 AM. I want to own my mornings. I do this so that I may put myself in the right mindset for the day ahead. Walking, stretching, exercising, meditating and journaling all help to center me, so that I may focus on my work for the rest of the day. I do not like monotony. In my previous job, I was completing the same tasks day in and day out. Instead, I am now able to work on a different set of tasks each and every day. It keeps me interested in my work, and motivated to continue further.
Take Control of Your Workday
According to a Gettysburg College article, the average person spends one third of their Life working. That is equivalent to 90,000 hours worked over an entire lifetime. Do you want to spend one third of your Life working in an unsatisfactory environment, under a standardized schedule, completing the same daily tasks? If you do then more power to you! I tried it for over a year and was unable to maintain my composure. Instead, I want to work where I want, and I want to do what I want, when I want.
If you are unhappy with your current working situation, make the necessary change(s) to fix the problem(s). You will spend roughly one third of your life working. Own it. If your company is not willing to be flexible with your desires, then maybe it is time for you to start looking for a new job. Find a job that values you as a person, and not as a tool to make the organization more money. Or maybe it is time for you to venture out on your own!
Entrepreneurship is the Answer
Entrepreneurship is the way to obtain freedom in a capitalist society. As an Entrepreneur, you are able to dictate your own work environment, schedule and load. You answer to no one single entity. You apply your skills to your passions, and make money your own way. It is terrifying at first. In my blog, A Leap of Faith, I discuss the stress I endured at the beginning of my Entrepreneur journey. Yet, here I am: surviving, striving and thriving.
To become a successful Entrepreneur, you must discover your Passions, identify your Skills, and find an intersection point where both meet in the middle. In doing this, you will find a way to make money applying your skills to your passions. In a recent video (click here to view my marketing video), I discuss my Entrepreneurial pursuits. I established Global Grassroots Consulting to combine my passions of helping people effected by today’s societal issues, with my skills in Sales, Marketing, IT and Content Creation. Now, I am in control of my workday, doing what I want and am utilizing my skills to pursue my passions.
Own your environment. Own your schedule. Own your work. Own your Life. Become an Entrepreneur.
Disclaimer: I fully believe that you are able to be an Entrepreneur in your own capacity. For me, it's setting out to work on my own. For you, it may be to become the executive at your current company. Maybe you want to start an Employee Resource Group at your company. Maybe you aspire to land your dream job. Or maybe your goal is to start a side hustle to fulfill your desires. Whatever way you decide to be an Entrepreneur, dive into it fully!