There are as many ways to work as there are people. The five-day-a-week schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. was invented more than two hundred years ago, yet many people stick to it without question. For entrepreneurs especially, there is no excuse to follow rigid structures that don’t suit your energy level or allow for a happy and healthy life outside of work.
Introducing the concept of “working style” are friends, entrepreneurs and changemakers Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst. They’ve been leading the workout revolution for a decade and co-founded a social enterprise, Hoxby, in 2014 to prove the concept. They have helped thousands of workstylers around the world establish, project and respect their own work styles, and conduct groundbreaking research into the link between autonomy, productivity and well-being.
Simply put, work style is the freedom to choose where and when you work. That should already apply to every entrepreneur, but it can apply to every employee whose employer has switched to the way of working. Penny and Hirst have worked in a workable manner to deliver projects for some of the largest companies in the world, including Unilever, Amazon, AIA and Sony. Together they wrote the Sunday Times best-selling book Workstyle: a revolution for well-being, productivity and society.
“Work style is all about the individualization of work,” says Penny. “Everyone has the freedom to choose where and when we work, so we can fit our work into our lives rather than the other way around.”
I interviewed Penny to find out how being autonomous can boost your well-being.
1. Show up as the real you
Following the norm without asking questions will probably only make you miserable. Gray offices, cubicles, and coming home after sunset were necessary evils of the old way, but not the new way we can choose. But there’s more. Penny states that “working wherever and whenever you want allows you to be your authentic self.”
When you design your schedule and plan your environment, “you don’t have to adopt the behavior of those around you, which results in a higher sense of personal integrity.” Working style-oriented also means that all that matters are your results. “Being judged on your performance rather than how much time you spend on the job means you can work any way you want, which gives you positive energy to achieve that result.”
For you this could be ‘living in New Zealand for a few months or going to the gym and swimming before work’. Penny wants you to ask, “If there were no boundaries, how would you work to ensure that you can be your authentic self?”
2. Find fulfillment in your work
Does your work bring you satisfaction? You may love your role, but you just don’t like the admin coming over to make it happen. A commute to work, unnecessary meetings and those nosy colleagues you see every day. What if you could remove the lint and just do the job?
“Individualizing work through work styles makes it easier for us to pursue our own goals,” says Penny. This happens when we “have more choice about what we want to work on without the constraints of location and time and are able to accommodate life’s changes while continuing to work with purpose.” Get more out of your work or have more time to pursue your goal outside of work. Either way, fulfillment awaits.
Penny prompts you to ask, “If the constraints of when and where you worked didn’t exist, what job would give you the most satisfaction?”
3. More opportunities to learn
Being measured only by our results brings true autonomy. Free from following defined methods, entrepreneurs, business leaders and employees can learn what works and iterate based on data. Results are not only our responsibility, “we also take responsibility for our learning so that we can focus on what interests us most.”
Penny said research shows that only 12% of employees say they can apply the new skills they learned through their organization to their jobs. They don’t find new answers because they don’t need to. But if you work in a work style and the answer to a problem eludes you, you can choose to enroll in formal training, talk to friends or colleagues for their input, or watch a TED talk while you work. are the food.” Work style increases the chance to learn more new things, from a wider group of people, for yourself.
Penny’s question for you is an important one. “What do you want to learn most and how do you prefer to learn?”
4. Keep deeper connections
Workstyles can create new and deeper connections inside and outside of work. “With control over where and when you work, we can each strengthen the bond with our loved ones by being available to them and making time to be there for important moments in everyday life.”
Penny also knows the value of a “digital-first workstyle” approach and connecting with people who may be thousands of miles away. For example, she joined the #interest_menopause group in Hoxby and found it extremely supportive. “Instead of waiting for live events or catching a conversation like it happens in the hallway, check out the watercooler channel in Slack whenever you need a social energy boost.” Be less disturbed when you are moving at your desk. Work on your terms, engage with whom you want to engage, and protect your energy.
A work style wellbeing question for you: “What are the connections you would like to deepen if you only had more time?”
5. Take care of your physical health
Working in our own style, from our chosen location, means we can make the food and exercise choices that suit our needs. “It means we can make better decisions about what to eat (instead of having to buy lunch from the deli closest to the office) and prioritize regular exercise.” Not everyone eats their meals at the same time and not everyone works from one chair all day. You do you.
“Work style also means we can avoid the health risks of sitting at a desk all day,” says Penny. “The average working adult spends 9½ hours sitting every day.” Take advantage of your autonomy by working standing up or even working while exercising.
See what health benefits mixing your standard can provide. Penny’s final question: “If you didn’t have to work a set time or location, how could you be healthier?”
Commit to finding your own work style, help your team find theirs, and support each other while accessing healthier and more productive ways to plan your week. Show yourself as the real you for authentic happiness, find the fulfillment that monotony has hidden, access more ways to learn new things, connect deeper and live happier lives. Anything is possible when you find the work style that makes sense for you.
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.