I was chatting to a friend in Canada (we will call him Paul – that’s not his real name) and he works very successfully in radio sales and has done so since the start of Covid – he has returned to the office 5 times, and that is in the last 2 months, now his boss wants him to start coming into work every day.
He still hits his sales targets, makes cold calls and does everything he would do at work, but from the comfort of home. He pops out and sees clients and does all of his work from home before deadlines – so he wanted to know what I thought of the situation.
Firstly – why me?
Secondly – why should he work from the office when he is obviously working just as well from home?
A couple of things to consider from his Sales Managers perspective… he wants to keep an eye on what Paul is up to, he wants to know what and where he is, and he also wants to keep an eye on the team, how they are going and helping them where he can.
All of these seem legitimate concerns – but both Paul and I agree that they are not enough to warrant returning full time to his workplace.
Because Paul is able to get the job done, and be above his monthly sales budgets and forecasts, yet is able to stay in touch with everyone at the workplace by either Zoom, email or phone calls – he is still meeting his cold call quotas, and drives new business in – why should he change to going into the office again.
The big thing I asked Paul was – how is your mental health? Are you feeling better working from home? He said “Yes, I can set my own routine and don’t feel like I am struggling at all, unlike at the start of the pandemic. Now I know what I am doing each day, my commute is the 2 minutes from the dining table to my home office. I have the dog at my feet all day and can pick the kids up from school… life is better!”
I asked Paul ‘Was there anything you miss from the office?’ and his response I think is the main reason why many people prefer to stay at home and work… “There is no office politics to get involved in! Sure, occasionally you feel a bit isolated, but you can jump on Zoom, call the station or chat over the phone with a co-worker and very soon you feel okay again. My favourite thing to get me out of a funk is to jump in the car, grab a couple of coffees and catch up with a client – nothing beats that informal chat, and I think that’s also why my sales have been better – I am more relaxed, have better communication skills and my clients are more connected to me than before.”
Paul also admits that he has set some strict boundaries at home – if the door is closed to his office – he can’t be disturbed (or he is not there) and come 4.45, he is filling in paperwork for the day so shouldn’t be interrupted, no matter what.
So what is going to happen next week?
Paul is going in to work on Monday but is having a serious chat with his Sales Manager about what and how he is going to do his job moving forward – he doesn’t want to change a good thing, and who can blame him – but you never know what his Sales Manager will say.
He might experience some culture shock re-joining the sales team back at the station, but we will see how he goes. I hope its all for the best Paul!
Good luck Paul – no matter what happens.