There is a global shift that is occurring across organizations and corporations. Employees are declaring they want more freedom – not just in where they work but in how and when they work as well. This is a revolution where more and more employees want to work remotely, at least some of the time. The organizations that either provide at least hybrid opportunities or full-time remote work flexibility are the ones who are able to attract, maintain, and keep their workforce. Organizations that are waiting for things to return to the pre pandemic routines, rules, and schedules are losing employees and leaders are struggling to fight against the shifting tides.
Corporations adopting this new belief system that “we are not going back to old ways” are the ones who are attracting employees, retaining employees, and having higher levels of employee satisfaction. These are the companies which will dart ahead of their competition because they have seen the new way is the evolution of how employees will be most engaged and generate the best business results.
With all this evidence pointing to this new way of working style becoming our new norm, some surprising and unexpected psychological effects have come to the surface. One of these underlying emotions is the feeling of guilt and the inability to give yourself permission to work in your most optimized state. This can seem bizarre if you are hit with it, “Why am I feeling guilty? I get to work from anywhere and on my own schedule. Isn’t this what I’ve always dreamed of having?”
You may experience feelings of guilt whether you are aware of it at a conscious or unconscious level, and this can be disruptive to your psyche. Where does this guilt come from? Guilt comes because we have been programmed over our entire lives to show up at an office and be productive for a certain amount of time, usually an 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, and in an office environment with a boss who makes all the rules. It has been indoctrinated into us since we first started attending school where we were required to be in our seats as soon as the bell rang to start class and not free to leave until the last bell rang. This same psychological conditioning of getting permission outside of ourselves has been programmed into our choices, our thoughts, our behaviors, and most importantly, our underlying beliefs about what permission means.
With the global pandemic, many organizations had to allow their workers to work remotely, which has caused a whole new cultural change in corporate culture. Now, the employees are self reliant and in charge of their own time, location, and schedule.
What does it mean to permit yourself to work on your own terms? Many people have never had to ask this question of themselves before. I know that I experienced this firsthand when I was working in a highly demanding corporate job with tight deadlines and ambitious goals; I ended up having a complete breakdown in the hospital with pneumonia. That breakdown led me to reevaluate my entire work-life habits, including the underlying beliefs and the mindset of why I had created them in the first place.
It turns out that permitting myself to work wherever I wanted to and also whenever I chose to instead of being attached to some outdated schedule or environment was one of the hardest psychological shifts I had to overcome. I had to look at why was it so hard to permit myself? Permission comes from you letting go of the guilt. It makes sense to have guilt because we have been indoctrinated into this belief system that you can only be productive in a specific timeframe and in a set environment. In the old paradigm, if you ventured outside of this rigid box of conformity, you were considered a slacker or rule breaker. It make sense why this guilt is there, but what you will discover is that this guilt is holding you back from reaching your highest levels of productivity.
And so, permitting yourself to work when you are most optimized emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually, depending on whether it is day or night or what environment you are in, you will have faster results with more significant impact. Whether you are a leader who is leading teams around the world or an employee who wants to maximize your effectiveness so that you can have more time for your personal life, permit yourself to be the most optimized version of yourself.
By dropping the guilt and relinquishing the chains of the 9-to-5, you will only skyrocket your success. As more and more people adopt this new way of thinking and being, these old patterns will begin to become just that – old-fashioned. And just like we now know that smoking is dangerous to your health, we will look back on our old antiquated 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 breakdown and stress.
Permit yourself to drop the guilt the next time you find an opportunity to work from wherever and whenever. You will find that this simple phrase, “I permit myself to be free” will set you up for long-term success. Today, give yourself permission to work as your most optimized version of yourself. That will include every factor that it takes to get there. You will find more creativity, joy, energy, and effectiveness in your day to day results.
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