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The Workshifting Reality

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With the limelight shining particularly bright on it during Telework Week 2011, it occurred to me that “workshifting” is not merely a type of work arrangement, but also a state of mind and mode of behavior.

Many a time, a workshifter’s reality is envied and aspired to; rarely are the coping mechanisms and behavioral discipline needed to survive and thrive in this space closely acknowledged or examined. Fortunately, this very forum has explored the impact of isolation, distractions and the need for structural rituals among workshifters.

What most do not realize is that workshifting may not only trigger but also force significant changes in job responsibilities, efficiency and work efforts. At the same time, it is expected that output will not change and, in many cases, should improve! But therein lies the paradox. The perceived “Workshifting Utopia” is characterized by flexible work schedules, more time to balance personal and professional life, and the joys of a home office; yet we must recognize and respect the degree of self-discipline, structure, ingenuity and pure proactivity required to effectively work remotely and independently.

And, as all workshifters unite and aspire to see a greater majority of organizations adopt and promote the workshifting lifestyle, we must warn these organizations to hire carefully for the lifestyle, search for self-adjusting, independent individuals who rate an “A” in self-efficacy. As more and more organizations adopt telework into their culture, they will realize the positive correlation between teleworking employees’ ability to cope within a flexible work context and successful entry into the workshifting space we all know and love!

What do you think makes a successful workshifter?

Photo Credit: Scoobymoo

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Natalya Sabga is a project management professional and operational efficiency expert turned author, consultant and executive education advisor. Fascinated by the study of human behavior, she has parlayed this into a successful writing career. Ms. Sabga is also the author of "From Secretary to CEO: A Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder Without Losing Your Identity" (2010). She is also the President of DNterprises, LLC - a firm specializing in project needs' analysis, and project management from implementation to operation. Ms. Sabga is currently working on her next non-fiction narrative, "A PMP's Guide to Project Managing Your Life," and authoring the blog 'ASK N'.
  • Eric Bensley

    Great post Natalya.

    Workshifting seems so simple in theory but day to day it takes a certain type of person to stay disciplined and driven. I also think workshifting takes a different kind of communication style that doesn’t come naturally as an extension of the corporate office environment.

    There is certainly a personality that fits better with workshifting but I also think organizations need to invest more upfront in coaching employees before they go remote. What standing meetings need to be established before an employee goes to workshift? How can they be reached and what hours are they ‘on the clock?’ If you’re working at home, how do you divide work life from personal life to keep your sanity?

    Workshifters today, myself included, are figuring it out as we go. I think it’s on organizations now to embrace these challenges and equip their own workshifters for success.

  • http://almostbohemian.com/ David William

    i understand the resistance folks can have about workshifting, but damn, i really want this life. its my goal for 2011. no more time wasted in an office. i want to work hard, but efficient. being stuck from 8-5 is a waste!