A global shift is taking place between organizations and companies. Employees indicate that they want more freedom – not only in where they work, but also in how and when they work. This is a revolution where more and more workers want to work remotely, at least some of the time. The organizations that offer at least hybrid capabilities or full-time flexibility for remote work are the ones that are able to attract, retain and retain their workforce. Organizations waiting for everything to return to pre-pandemic routines, rules and schedules are losing workers and leaders struggling to fight the shifting tides.
Companies that adopt this new belief system that “we’re not going back to old ways” are the ones that attract employees, retain employees, and have higher levels of employee satisfaction. These are the companies that are ahead of their competition, as they’ve seen the new way evolve how employees are most engaged and drive the best business results.
With all this evidence pointing to this new way of working becoming our new normal, some surprising and unexpected psychological effects have surfaced. One of these underlying emotions is the guilt and inability to give yourself permission to work in your most optimal state. This can seem bizarre when it hits you: “Why do I feel guilty? I can work anywhere and on my own schedule. Isn’t this what I’ve always dreamed of?”
You may experience guilt, whether you are aware or unconscious of it, and this can disturb your psyche. Where does this guilt come from? Guilt comes from being programmed throughout our lives to show up at the office and be productive for a certain amount of time, usually 9am to 5pm, and in an office environment with a boss who makes all the rules. It has been indoctrinated with us since we first went to school where we had to sit in our chairs as soon as the bell rang to start class and not be free to leave before the last bell rang. The same psychological conditioning of gaining consent outside of ourselves is programmed into our choices, our thoughts, our behavior, and most importantly our underlying beliefs about what consent means.
With the global pandemic, many organizations have had to let their employees work remotely, which has brought about a whole new cultural shift in corporate culture. Now employees are self-reliant and in charge of their own time, location and schedule.
What does it mean to allow yourself to work on your own terms? Many people have never had to ask themselves this question. I know I experienced this first hand when I worked in a very demanding corporate job with tight deadlines and ambitious goals; I ended up in the hospital completely with pneumonia. That slump prompted me to re-evaluate my entire work-life habits, including the underlying beliefs and mindset of why I created them in the first place.
It turns out that allowing myself to work wherever I wanted and also whenever I chose to be attached to an outdated schedule or environment was one of the hardest psychological shifts I had to overcome. I had to see why was it so hard to allow myself? Consent comes from letting go of the guilt. It makes sense to feel guilty for being indoctrinated into this belief system that you can only be productive in a specific time frame and environment. In the old paradigm, if you ventured outside this rigid box of conformity, you were considered a weakling or rule-breaker. It makes sense why this guilt is there, but what you’ll discover is that this guilt keeps you from reaching your highest level of productivity.
And so, if you allow yourself to work when you are most emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually optimized, depending on whether it is day or night or what environment you are in, you will have faster results with greater impact. Whether you’re a leader leading teams around the world or an employee looking to maximize your effectiveness so you have more time for your self life, allow yourself to be the most optimized version of yourself.
Letting go of the guilt and letting go of the chains of the 9-to-5 will only skyrocket your success. As more and more people adopt this new way of thinking and being, these old patterns will become just that old-fashioned. And just as we now know that smoking is dangerous to your health, we will look back on our old outdated ideas of how we used to be productive in the corporate world as a destructive belief system that created overwhelm, burnout and endless causes of collapse. and tension.
Allow yourself to drop the guilt the next time you get the chance to work anytime, anywhere. You will find that this simple phrase, “I allow myself to be free” will help you in the long run. Give yourself permission today to work as your most optimized version of yourself. That includes all the factors needed to get there. You will find more creativity, joy, energy and effectiveness in your daily results.