Episode 70 – What If I Don’t Want To Go Back To The Office?
Last week I was googling, I don’t remember what exactly but it started with “What if I don’t want to…” and Google finished my sentence with “…go back to the office”.
“What if I don’t want to go back to the office?”
It’s a question people are asking in times when unprecedented numbers of people found themselves working from home. And while it’s not always a seamless transition, some of us are clearly loving it.
I know from my experience as a Business Coach it’s also a question that comes up – global pandemic or not.
After all, who does want to spend their life in a cubicle?
So what if you don’t want to go back to the office? What are your options to make money? Possibilities range from negotiating with your employer, finding a new remote role, freelancing, buying a franchise to launching your own business.
Let’s look at each of these options in detail.
They range from small changes – just getting to keep what you already have but staying at home, to building a whole new way of making money, so you want to make sure you make the choice that best suits you.
Option 1: Negotiation With Your Current Employer
Some employers are more flexible than others.
All employers like to save money, get more work done or other metrics that they have decided are important to them.
If your employer is already flexible then you’ve got a head start.
Regardless, if you want to work from home or make any change to your work arrangements, your job is to convince your employer that what you are suggesting is better for them AS WELL AS better for you, if you possibly can.
What will be the advantage they get if you get what you want? Other than you being much happier, which is great, but they may not care about this as much as we might like.
Does working from home mean you can get more quality work done because you are less distracted? If that suggestion made you laugh out loud is there something else? Are you able to be more responsive? Or you able to do work at times which is more advantageous for your boss because you wouldn’t need to commute?
Brainstorm all the ways that it’s better for them before you make your case.
Also, consider what they’ll be worried about and see if you can counter those concerns. If they’re worried you won’t get anything done can you set a target and if it’s not met then you come back in for 2 days a week? Or, worst-case scenario, can you offer to use a time tracking tool so they know you aren’t goofing off?
Remember, if they can see how this helps their goals you are much more likely to get a yes.
Option 2: Find A New Remote Position
Now that working from home is much more normalised you may be able to get a new remote job or maybe the whole team is remote. This means you can widen your job search way beyond your normal commuting distance.
Check out your industry job sites and see what you can find. It could even be an option to work in a different time zone if that fits your schedule better.
If the role is fully remote that gives you options on moving if you want to do that.
Think outside your industry as well. Some industries are on pause or in decline at the moment while others have more work than ever.
What’s going to be the best option for you?
Option 3: Start Freelancing
There are different levels of starting a business so I’ve split working for yourself into three sections – freelancing, franchise or existing business and start your own business. Yes, there is overlap between the three but these are three distinct ways of going about it. So let’s dive in.
Freelancing. If you just want to try doing something you already know how to do or do the same job as before, just freelance, then you can make this very simple for yourself.
You can get on a site like Upwork, or whatever it is in the relevant industry and get yourself some freelance work. Either on the side or full time.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can just leverage the fact that other people have built platforms that bring freelancers and people who need to get work done together.
This has the disadvantage that you don’t control the platform so you have to work within how it’s set up, but the option is there and it’s just a case of setting up a profile, potentially bidding on work and getting started.
Even better, if you have contacts in the industry you want to work in you can reach out and see if they have any work going.
Option 4: Buy A Franchise Or Existing Business
In my Entrepreneurial Design System, one of the factors I look at to see how people can best create a business that suits their personality is their Direction Type (D Type).
Some people are more comfortable being externally directed and some people prefer to be internally directed.
What that means is some people want to create their unique way of doing things (D Types Innovative and Agile) and some people prefer to use well-established time-tested existing systems (D Types Trusted and Pragmatic). If you don’t know your Type already get your Entrepreneurial Design Profile here.
Franchises are essentially a pre-tested formula for a business that makes money (hopefully). If you buy an existing business it also usually comes with training from the previous owners, existing customer base and you can hit the ground running.
Network marketing opportunities or MLMs also give you a playbook but you will need to find your own clients.
These businesses can look like buying yourself a job with a new set of rules, and it can come with a new office that you might need to go to, so choose carefully.
If you are someone who wants to work for themselves but prefers not to have control over every aspect then this could be for you.
Option 5: Start Your Own Business – Meaning Get A Side Hustle
I’m not going to lie, if working from home (or just getting jealous of other people getting to work from home) has you realising you are ready to have more freedom and control over your life, then this is the most exciting option.
The positives are you can work from wherever you please and you get to make all the rules – including really cool ones – like no one works on their birthday ever and pjs are your company work attire. If that’s your jam. Your new rules are probably completely different.
Building your own platform, meaning having your own website, marketing etc means you don’t have to deal with the limitations of being on a freelancing platform and it means you also don’t get lost in a sea of sameness and end up competing on price.
There is more to building a business than just signing up to a freelancing site. I recommend reading my Amazon Bestseller Your Business, Your Rules: Live, work and make money your way which is available at the usual online book retailers plus the PDF version is available on my site for free (so no excuses!).
I also have a free Zero To Paying Clients Masterclass which goes through the details of choosing a niche, the simplest way of getting started, choosing a business model and importantly – what NOT to do. So do check that out if you want to start your own thing.
Why did I add “Get A Side Hustle”? It’s always best to start on the side, especially in difficult times. While it might sound exciting to quit your job and dive right into something new it can and usually does take a bit of time to get it all working, so do yourself a favour and quit when you already are earning income on the side. The last thing you want to do is put yourself under extra pressure. So quit let them know you don’t want to come back to the office when you have the back up there to know you don’t need to.
So What’s The Right Way To Not Go Back To The Office For You?
There is no generic right answer. Only the one that is the best fit for you. Pretty much as soon as I had a proper job I was scheming to not have to go there. I’ve tried options 3-5 and settled on my own business.
Only you can know what’s right for you.