Is commuting bad for you? Experts say it’s outdated

Bosses: It’s enough to force employees to walk around in meetings too much.

So say Koen BlancquartLeadership expert and author of the flexible work book suitcase office, in a recent interview on lucky connection, luck executive leadership community. He said that the “worst” companies are overloaded in meetings, which he says are “not only freedom killers but time killers”.

We know this before the pandemic, although some companies seem to have recognized the hint. ONE September 2022 study from UNC Charlotte found that one-third of meetings are meaningless and that having expensive employees attend costs tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year.

“If you look at why meetings are held, how they are organized, and how they are structured—first of all, why are they organized?” he say. Most meetings, true to the cliché, are easily replaced by an email. “There are dashboards and automated information systems to know if something has happened.”

In fact, Blanquart added, gathering people together synchronously when it’s not absolutely necessary is “a kind of punishment for them.” And although eliminating meetings altogether is Not sure the answerDetaining them only for their own benefit is an expensive punishment for workers.

“People were spending — I just calculated this morning — an average of $16,000 a year commuting,” Blanquart said. “If it’s about going to the office to hear the manager say, ‘yes, we’ve got our number, thanks for being here, let’s have a coffee and a sandwich and go home’, then go home. That is disrespectful to our employees.”

After all, 84% of respondents about FlexJobs survey says the top benefit of telecommuting is eliminating commuting. That might be because it became too expensive—one the annual average is $8,466, 31% more than before the pandemic. Plus, they’re longer; Census Bureau find Americans’ average commutes have increased 10% since 2006 for drivers and more than doubled for those using public transit.

Meetings should go the fax machine way

Perhaps the misplaced emphasis on meetings stems from bosses feeling so dependent on how they worked before the pandemic. After all, Blanquart says, we’ve somehow allowed offices to remain stuck in the past. (No wonder no one wants to come in.)

“We’re still in that office, where we introduced typewriters and rotary phones; We haven’t redesigned the concept yet,” says Blanquart. “We were still in the office where there should have been a fax machine in the corner and a typewriter at the side table. We’re just slowly evolving into a workplace that’s ready for the new way of working and the tech world we’re in right now.”

Traditional office space—along with other relics of the past like eight-hour workday and fully direct work week—is currently frozen in an “industrial model,” says Blanquart, which he believes has been allowed to exist “when the sell-by date is over.” To the chagrin of both workers and bosses, “everything is based on the 38 to 40 hour workweek, but we are no longer in that society.”

Are you sure; just ask the knowledge workers. Almost all of them (95%) want schedule flexibility, according to a 10,000-person survey from Slack’s Future Forum. Some companies, as Salesforcebrought them up there.

But many companies are still looking to the past when they should be looking forward. Each person is the best judge of their own productivity and what “success” looks like to them—and that probably has nothing to do with commuting through tons of meetings.

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