How Much Is Real Independence Worth to You?

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This week at VORNICA® we launched our flagship online course PEARL – Present, Effective, Authentic Remote Leadership for women leaders. I couldn’t be happier – this course is a work of love and a collection of everything I and our team have learnt in 12 years of entrepreneurship about in-person, remote, and hybrid leadership. But what is more: this course promises to be a breakthrough in the life of any woman leader who is looking for more choice, freedom, autonomy, and real independence in her life.     

I don’t know if you are familiar with this, but in the second half of the 19th century more than 90% of the working population in the US was a freelancer. Well, in a way – they were not employed in the sense we know employment today. They were working for money, but with no permanent contract and their wages depended on the number of days and the type of work done – so, in a word, freelancers.

During the 20th century everything changed. After two devastating World Wars we were in dire need of stability. People looked for employment. Even in countries like Romania, where the transition from farm labor to paid employment occurred only in the second half of the 20th century, the movement was clear: we are willing to put our time and freedom of movement on the table in return for a stable salary.

What good has this bring us? Thanks to the predictability of the workforce companies could expand. Economies started to grow; billions of people stepped out of poverty.

This growth has a dark side though.

In the process we also learnt consumerism and living on debt. We pillaged the world resources as if there was no tomorrow. Within 70 years we had a horrifying impact on our living environment, with thousands of species going extinct because of our expansion-driven habits and behavior.

And yet, oblivious to the ups and down of our way of working and living, we piled through until the pandemic hit.

THE FOUR FORCES THAT TRANSFORM OUR WORLD

As author Walter Schiedel put it in his masterful book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, throughout the human history there were only four forces that led to any significant change and innovations. They are war, revolution, sate collapse, and plague.

When Covid19 hit us, we were fast to embrace the power of technology to protect ourselves AND continue working and making a living. Numerous companies moved into a temporary or permanent remote work mode.

It almost felt like a pendulum – from more than 90% in-person work in most geographies prior to pandemic to more than 60% remote work in the first months of the pandemic.

Of course, a backwards move was to be expected. This is why in 2021 numerous companies tried to concoct a seemingly innovative model of work that would combine the stability and familiarity of in-person work with the newly found benefits of remote work.  We called this a hybrid model of work.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT MEAN - HYBRID?

Now, it needs to be said that every company defines hybrid differently. From fully-fledged hybrid, which means allowing your people to choose their favorite form of work (fully in-person, fully remotely, or combined), to directive hybrid (enabling people to work from home / remotely a few days a week, but expecting them to show up in person in a physical office another number of days a week).

The second type of hybrid gained more traction. It’s not a surprise; it gives the company leadership a relative sense of control.

But what many managers and company leaders haven’t understood during the pandemic and in its aftermath is that YOU CANNOT DO HYBRID WELL WITHOUT FIRST DOING REMOTE RIGHT.

A well-functioning model of hybrid work is an astute combination of a remote work mindset and processes AND the benefits of collective community and co-creation in a physical office. But like with relatives – it’s nice to see them several times a year, mainly around Christmas, but it’s overwhelming and unhealthy to see them every day without them taking over your agenda and your life.

In its essence, both remote work and hybrid work hold the promise of location independence. Regardless of the outdated legislation, which is in many regards trapped in the 20th century mindset, location independence is what the post-pandemic world of work should be about.

LOCATION-INDEPENDENCE IS VITAL FOR OUR FUTURE - EVEN MORE SO FOR US, WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

Here is why location-independence is so relevant for our future:

  1. We can move closer to those we love and care about. This is particularly relevant for women, who carry most of the grunt of relative care. With an aging population, this is becoming massively important.
  2. We take the pressure off from the major cities. Accommodation, rents, and infrastructure are already unsustainable in most major cities, while wide areas of beautiful landscape have been left unpopulated. Why? When we have location-independence, we can move into a beautiful place and still create value for our colleagues and customers.
  3. We repopulate smaller communities. This goes hand in hand with the idea of taking the pressure off large cities.
  4. We save money and reduce our impact on the world around us. When we travel less, we stop mindless consumption of fuel and money on things we otherwise don’t need, but are too tempting to buy when we go downtown.
  5. We boost our wellbeing and experience a higher quality of life. Recently, a friend of mine moved into a beautiful mountain village. Every day they go on bike rides with their dog and cats and she comes across as so much happier than before. Indeed – nature, movement, and community are our recipe for happiness.

But what’s most important, particularly for women leaders – we can choose our employer. When you are able to lead yourself, your projects, your team, and your organization remotely AND / OR in a hybrid environment, you are able to connect online and choose your employer.

Whenever you feel trapped in your career for whatever reason – a narrowminded boss, a toxic company culture, no resources for development, no room to grow etc. – you are one click away from your next smart career move WITHOUT HAVING TO RELOCATE AND THUS UPROOT YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.

This is, my friend, real independence. You and your career should not be trapped in the opportunities available in your location and region (trust me, I know something about this coming from a region in Romania, Hunedoara, that was left depleted after the fall of communism and the closure of major industrial centers around).

You should not be trapped by a silly boss with unrealistic expectations. You should not be trapped by the lack of career paths or the fact that in your company your development always comes last. In a word, you should never feel trapped because you have OPTIONS AND REAL CHOICE.

Knowing how to work remotely in a smart, effective, and authentic way will give you all that.

So, why don’t you join us for our incoming webinar TRAPPED DISCOVER THE TOP 3 PRISON BALLS HOLDING WOMEN LEADERS BACK IN THEIR CAREERS AND LIVES… AND HOW TO GET RID OF THEM LIKE A QUEEN

You can also take a look at our incoming online course of remote leadership for women in organizations PEARL - Present, Effective, Authentic Remote Leadership.

BOOK A CALL TO DISCUSS HOW IMPORTANT REAL INDEPENDENCE AND GROWTH ARE FOR YOU AT THIS MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER AND LIFE. LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU SOON.

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