What do we Really Mean by Freedom to Choose Where we Work?

May 31, 2021

As I interview executive leaders about their plans to capitalize on the momentum given to them by the global pandemic, most reflect that their greatest aspiration is that their organizational processes, programs, places, and policies would better support the needs of their people rather than simply the tasks they perform. Most leaders talk about how their former structures were focused on helping their people bring their best, but they admit that they neglected to help people truly be their best. 

Business leaders around the world are focused on giving their people greater freedom to choose where and how they’ll work. And I challenge leaders to consider:


Is giving people greater freedom your end goal or is it a means to another end?

As you consider why you’re giving people permission to decide where and how they will work going forward, I’d propose that giving freedom isn’t your end goal. It isn’t your success. Giving your people choice is a means to an end where your teams display high trust to be and do more than they ever thought possible – for you and for them.

As Simon Sinek tells us: “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”


So why is trust a critical condition necessary for businesses to thrive in the future?

In the future of work where rapid automation means the radical reinvention of jobs, one of the greatest dilemmas challenging change advocates is that people will only aspire to what they can imagine. To build sustainable businesses, we must help people imagine a world where they have more ownership to create a future for themselves. Trust – both in oneself and in others – is a foundational behavioral attribute found through studies of highly creative and innovative thinkers. In the future of work, we need people to trust their instincts and their ideas. We need people to know we believe in their ability to think and decide the best course of action for our collective future.

About the Author:

Laura Eley is a trusted culture and employee experience advisor to organizational leaders across the globe. She is a life-long student of methods for how organization’s successfully amplify their beliefs by influencing the collective behavior of people through both formal and informal practice. In her consulting, she applies principles from organizational psychology as well as real world practical experience to guide the culture-building journey of large enterprises as well as start-up businesses.