Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day Not At The Office

Maybe it's working in IT.  Or maybe just working at an office that Scott Adams could have based his comic strip on.  But it puts me of a mind to agree with this Treehugger article.  The days of the office are over.

One of my least favourite activities had to be meetings.  Once, sometimes twice a week.  To begin with.  But then suddenly there were meetings to schedule meetings, meetings to discuss stuff raised at other meetings, and more. I'd often take a wirelessly-connected laptop to those meetings so that while it might look like I only had my notes and spreadsheets with me, I was actually remote logged into the servers and doing the work that I would have been doing had the damn meeting not been called...

So I agree - in a teleconf, who hasn't been doing other things?  And why not?  That whole argument by Lane wallace smacks of someone who doesn't have focus, or at least who doesn't trust the rest of humanity to be as focused as her.  Yes I can understand that some people would use teleworking as their chance to goof off and just draw wages - but that's where management have to take a responsibility for monitoring and - surprise! - managing their teams.  If someone isn't performing, invite them to the (much smaller) office for a face to face if you must, or preferably have a telemeeting with them.  If that doesn't get their attention and their work ethic, then dismissal is always an option - after all, there's going to be ONE person in the world who will see that job as interesting and an opportunity...

I've worked from home with people around the globe, on servers at the end of a chain of VLANs and VPNs and office networks, and even for an IT administrator who needs to reboot and restart servers, it was possible to set up mechanisms that meant I rarely had to be onsite.  I've done helpdesk and remote admin for people up and down the state - while sitting on the edge of the bed watching TV and chatting with my partner.

Our Sales force were more on the road than at the office, and didn't even use a home office, instead using their laptops, mobile phones, and a dash of ingenuity to work remotely long before teleworking became a buzzword.  Most of our office staff that were in the office could easily have worked from home instead, the only thing keeping them at work was the management who were not at all receptive to teleworking or trusting of their staff to remain work-centric if they weren't under a watchful gaze and itchy whip hand.  I've got news for them, 75% of the office staff goofed off for periods of from 30 to 120 minutes every day anyway...

Lastly - I think I mentioned in another blog post that smaller enterprises are going to be a bit of a market force to deal with.  And it's also going to be the enterprises that work smarter, and can cover more of the globe.  You can organise almost anything using the Internet these days, and the 'almost' will be covered before another year or two have gone, mark my words.  Instead of having an office full of local people - many of whom will suffer from that "I'm only here for the wages" syndrome - you can pick a smaller, dedicated team from anywhere in the world.  And have a presence 24/7, everywhere.

They say that if you find a job you like, you'll never work for a living again.  And if you raise your sights when looking for staff to fill positions, you're more likely to find that person that actually likes the job you're offering, and reap the benefits...

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