Working From HomeI read this today in the Huffington Post:
Allow me to repeat what Lisa says in my own words.
Marissa Mayer's Work-From-Home Ban Is The Exact Opposite Of What CEOs Should Be DoingLisa Belkin
Senior Columnist on Life/Work/Family, The Huffington Post
What others see as the future of the workplace, and what parents see as a most important tool for juggling home and work, Marissa Mayer apparently sees as disposable.
The CEO of Yahoo!, who made news when she took the position last summer... announced through the company's human resources arm yesterday that employees will no longer be permitted to work remotely.
"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home," says the memo from HR director Jackie Rees, and reprinted by Kara Swisher on allthingsd.com last night. "We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together."
No. It doesn't.
No. It does not.
Never Assume (Trust but Verify)
The job description read, in part:
• 5+ years experience working with Windows, Mac and Linux systems, including systems administration for all three
I do know how to use Windows but I am much happier, and far more productive, when most of my general work can be done on Mac OS X. I can do "system administration" on Windows (or Linux) machines but prefer to make notes, handle email & calendar, and use web applications on a Mac desktop system.
I also knew that at least one project was heavily into Macs. The third interviewer and I spent much of our time discussing the application his team works with, that I would therefore be working with.
So, I thought I was making a simple administrative request when I asked the recruiter to pass on the information that I wanted to sure that the desktop system I was provided with would be a Macintosh.
Highly Sensitive People and the Interruptive Workplace
Good News: I have a new manager and increased scope at Dayjob. My job title and description will be adjusted to formally recognize what I've actually been doing for the past three years.
Bad news: New manager wants me in the office "more often". It's the only point on which we disagree. But it's a big point. For some time now, I've been telecommuting three days a week.
Within a month of my starting work at this company (on a temporary "contract"), I asked to telecommute one day a week. When they offered to make the position permanent, I requested permission to telecommute two days a week. That (and a Mac on my desk :-) were my most important negotiating points before saying Yes.
About a year and a half ago, I increased my telecommuting to three days a week. As my commute time and exposure to noise and disruption have gone down, my stress levels have also gone down. The ability to telecommute is one of my top reasons for staying with this company.
Asking me to "be the office more" feels like a punishment for a job well done.
Evolution of a TWikiist
I've had a rather eclectic career. Most of the time, I've been a programmer, starting with Unix (shell, awk, and some C), then moving into Perl. At other times, when the mood suits, I've been employed as a technical writer.
At present, I'm the resident TWiki adept in a large Internet company.
What Advice Would You Give? (Part 2)After reading Tim Walker's though-provoking What "Real Advice" Would You Give Your Company?, I clicked over to a related question posted in October of this year.
My work often brings me into contact with college students — undergrads and grads — who are 10+ years younger than I am. Sometimes they, in all their wide-eyed naivete, ask me for career advice. Usually, in all my megalomania self-assurance, I give them some.Tim provides some excellent advice, interspersed with delightful images of cautionary signs. I encourage you to read the full post, then think about what advice you would give.
What Advice Would You Give
Tim Walker (Hoover's Business Insight Zone) asks What "Real Advice" Would You Give Your Company?
Quick fix = easy.
Tips-’n'-tricks = easy.
Actually doing things better = hard.
Even the best of us can fall for this illusion some of the time. In the business world, managers of high quality don’t believe in money for nothing. But even they can fall into the chasm between knowing that a problem exists and acting on that problem.
It’s going to take more than tips-’n'-tricks to get them where they need to be. It requires real advice, which is hard to give and hard to hear.
YOUR AdviceSo, that brings us to you.
. . . what REAL advice would you give?
- If you could offer it without fear of recriminations . . .
- If you knew that it would be heeded and acted upon at the highest levels . . .
- If you knew that your organization was willing to go through the hard slog of making itself better . . .
Job vs Company; I'll Take the Job
When I began working for Cotheme (the Company that employs me), it was with decidedly mixed feelings. I hadn't gone looking for a job there; they found me. I wasn't in their customer demographic. I didn't use any of their products or services. The location was at the far edge of the distance I was wiling to commute.
But, they had a position available and I needed a job. Many of the people in the department used Mac OS X, so Windows wouldn't be an issue. I wouldn't have to drive; the location is reachable by train and shuttle. Telecommuting one day a week was not only permitted, it was common.
And, after all, I didn't actively dislike the Company or any of their products or services. Working there wouldn't be philosophically repugnant. It just felt a bit odd that I didn't really care about what they did.
Besides, it was a only 3-month contract. And then it became full time...
Re-orgs Hazardous to Teams
On Monday, my manager said "We're having a re-org. But don't worry. it doesn't affect anyone in my group."
She was partially correct. There is no immediate, direct, acute effect. However, the longterm indirect effects are demoralizing. We're losing three people from the Team.
Changing the Culture? Start with the Meeting!
The Company That Employs Me has decided it needs to Change. To get the employees to understand and "internalize" the new Purpose, they're holding "Corporate Purpose, Strategy and Culture" meetings. Specifically, mandatory, 3-hour, in-person attendance meetings.
This is not a Company with a history of holding effective meetings. You could say that effective meetings are not part of the Company Culture. It seems to me, then, that a good way to start changing the Company Culture would be to start with that first meeting.
Four Walls and a DoorIn 1992. I was working at Apple. Apple had recently completed and opened a new R&D center — 6 large buildings, across the road from where I worked. Our group wasn't moving but we'd heard the rumors. Everyone in the R&D center had an office with a door.
In 1993, I went to work for Taligent, the Apple-IBM Joint Venture. Taligent was about to start construction on new office space. They studied what Apple had done, then proceeded to follow the same model — a hard-walled office for every employee, complete with a door.
The space wasn't large; it had less floor space, frankly, than my former cube. But it had real walls and a door, a door I could close (and often did). It had its own lighting controls.
It was private. It was conducive to thought and productive work.