Some people made it through the snow last week, some people didn’t. Some worked from home and some threw snowballs. What does this tell us about peoples’ attitude to work?
It would be really interesting to see the different approaches to getting to work from people who live in the same street with the same travel resources and family issues, who work in the same place and those who do similar kind of work. What would the differentiating criteria be? (Vice versa applies)
Would older people do better than younger people?
Would managers do better than the front-line?
Would women do better than men?
Or are the criteria more difficult to quantify? The personal attributes of motivation, ambition, responsibility, a greater sense of duty etc being more significant?
With some certainty we can predict, short of the street actually being cut off, there would be some people who got in and some who didn’t. Like the person who lived at bottom of the hill who parked their car at the top the night before who made it to work, the person who walked the 5 miles to work, and the person who simply set out a lot earlier, and was prepared to get home a lot later. (All actual examples).
A factor seems to be how convincingly we can claim to work from home. With a phone, internet connection and networked computer working from home would seem a snap. Much of the research into productivity suggests people who work from home are more productive than in the office. If that’s the case, rather than lost productivity we should have achieved a performance gain last week. However, a lot of peoples’ working from home seems to be dealing with inbox stuff, a few planned phone calls and generally ‘being available’. Much rarer is somebody working from home in the snow doing some significant, original work.
Probably the most important factor will have a lot to do with our conscience, how we handle guilt. The snowball throwers will have found a rationalisation that gives them licence to enjoy themselves, some lucky people were even given a free pass by their employer (we’re shut go out and have fun), but most will have come to a more ‘personal’ accommodation.
When the next snow comes it will open a revealing window onto our work/life landscape, one that might be more insightful than we realise.