From „how can we produce more” to „how can I help you be more productive”

Oana Păuna

13 minutes read

When the pandemic came, I never imagined what it would be like to not be able to leave to work in hubs or hostels. I loved to travel for little money, and Brasov and Bucharest offered me the opportunity to experience working in another city. Here I found people like me who don’t look weird when I take out my laptop and work from the terrace. I thought I was going to go crazy working from home every day, but change is the only constant in our lives. The concept of flexible workspace was foreign to me until I experienced it on my own and I understood that in the end working remotely means an adventure, a game in which you set your rules.

Just the 2 options (headquarters and work from home) are not enough

I experienced both working in the open space office of a marketing agency and working from home and I must honestly say that for me, personally, the best option was neither. Why do I say that? For several reasons such as:

  • At the office, headquarters, I could not focus entirely on tasks because my office colleagues were asking me questions or talking to each other in a conversation that reduced my productivity.
  • Open spaces for example open space offices are not the best idea for introverts. I was suffocated by the fact that the eyes of others had been on me since I entered the office. I didn’t have the privacy to even write a message.
  • Every time I went to have coffee or to the bathroom I felt that these small breaks were counted and I felt guilty even though my smoking colleagues took a 15-minute break for every 40 minutes I worked.
  • Oral assignments confused me because they were said quickly, in front of other colleagues, I did not have the courage to ask something and until I started I forgot details about what I had to do. I would have felt more comfortable with them drawn in an email where I could get back to them when I needed to.
  • Shuttle from the office – it took me 2 hours a day at home, even though I didn’t live far away. I ended up sleepy and without work, and at the end of the day I was exhausted. I didn’t have time to get anywhere: doctor, salon, manicure, facials, etc.
  • At home, I had made a habit of working out of bed, a counterproductive fact that makes you want to sleep or watch TV instead of working hard.
  • I didn’t go out of the house to the store, spending many hours on my laptop, but without great results because I got bored on my own and ended up scrolling bored on Facebook for hours. I felt the need for human and out-of-home contact.
  • I didn’t miss the shuttle, but I missed putting on makeup and arranging to get out of the house.
  • The new decor always helps. I tried to change the place where I worked, but no place in the house seemed very suitable for work. It was dark in the room and I wanted to sleep, it was too light and I wanted to go outside for a walk, I was sleepy, I felt like running, I was constantly hungry and I was taking turns in the fridge, I didn’t eat until I was starting to feel bad.

Trying both options I understood that I have to leave the house, but work from somewhere other than my managers or colleagues. I needed to feel fresh, to sit at another desk, to see other faces, to work with people I don’t interact with directly in my collaborations. Freelancers are a group of people who have been looking for something else and are guiding, supporting each other. It’s a kind of brotherhood where introverts can do great.

There is a growing recognized need for complementary work options

If we were to divide the world into introverts and extroverts, those with the greatest problems of adaptation and concentration are introverts. They need privacy, their space and the feeling of freedom. If you try to micromanage them, they will get annoyed, demotivate and in the end you can lose them. Even locked up in the house does not feel good in the long run, but neither in large open-space offices.

You should listen to their needs, bend to their preferences and standards to see them happy and motivated at work. With extroverts it is much easier. Ask them what they want and they will tell you openly.

People need to be free to work from any space they feel is most productive.

I am extremely happy that for the employees where it was possible to work remotely, the managers understood that they have to trust their employees and leave them at home. It went without saying that those people work because they need an income and sometimes they love what they do. No one works for fear of the manager or the boss who is watching them or who may enter from time to time.

Moreover, the attention of managers seems to have shifted from the question “how can we produce more” to “how can I help you be more productive”? After all, people are the most important resource and the focus should always be on them.

Flexibility has become a key criterion when choosing a job

Things change from day to day, and jobs are most easily found online. To be honest, I never went with the CV in hand to submit it to any company. I like the online environment because I can express myself without emotions, no one judges me by my looks and I feel good in my skin. I have access to many more jobs than if I went to Employment Agencies or went from company to company with my CV in hand.

I understood that I have special needs or different from the others, that I work differently and that it is okay, I do not have a defect, but a peculiarity. That is why, in addition to the material benefits, the people I work with matter the most, how “crusty” they are, how many procedures they have, what responsibilities I will have and the respect for my free time. I am looking for the ideal job, and flexibility has become the key point in the benefits offered by an employer, client, collaborator.

The desire for autonomy in choosing one’s own work patterns appears to be a key factor in performance

Have you noticed that when someone blows in the back of your neck you become more and more tense and you don’t seem to work as efficiently or quickly? Don’t you feel better when you are left alone to do your job? Once you know what to do, if you are left alone you will work faster because you will not be interrupted and you will not feel anxious or tense.

Everything an employee needs to start working sums up two big and broad directions: what does he have to do / how should he work and what is the deadline? If he knows this information and is left alone, he will be more productive than ever. Any meeting that repeats the information already known, in which explanations for mistakes are asked for, another is blamed and employees are reprimanded, it only demotivates people. Less talk and more work, said an old man.

Where do you work more efficiently and more motivated?

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Written by Oana Păuna


Writing has always been my passion, and freelance is not a desire but a lifestyle. I value my freedom of choosing projects, timelines, and clients more than anything. I choose projects with which I resonate, and I always strive to leave an essential mark on them.

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