Key Point: Work is what you do and the results you get, NOT just where you go to “punch in” time. Marissa Mayer, the prehistoric minded CEO of Yahoo! is unwittingly going to help bring greater clarity to this principle with her recent antiquated people “recall” policy. If you’re not aware of the continuously developing fuss Mayer caused, you can check out a quick synopsis here.
Some jobs obviously and absolutely require people to be in specific places at certain times, and working remotely doesn’t make sense for those people. But what bugs me is that some people actually equate the effectiveness of productivity and collaboration to work location. If you want to “hide” and under-perform at work, you can do it at the office as well as remotely. There is also lots of data to support people being productive in both formal workspaces AND at home. And there are ample other examples of people being just as highly collaborative and social from remote locations as they are when in fixed workplaces. The idea of running into others for spontaneous interaction can be both a blessing and a curse regarding productivity. Sometimes on a deadline, the last thing one wants is spontaneous socializing. In too many cases, having people come to a location at a fixed time, requiring permission to take a “break,” is a by product of rusty command and CONTROL management. And it is often just a plain dumb, worn out notion that needs to be challenged.
I believe these are the key considerations regarding the concept of work location, performance and flexibility:
A. Self-accountable people will be productive in almost any reasonable work environment. They do NOT need to be watched to be productive. We can ALL benefit from coaching, but that is much different than being monitored. Do you need to be watched to be productive? If so please do not “work” for me. Go someplace else. In fact, I would pay you to go.
B. We all need clarity to determine the way we bring value and get results in the work we do. The individual value our role provides must be clear and measurable. Often managers and workers find this hard to do, so we cop out and use “time” as the currency for effectiveness. That type of thinking and behavior leads to many outcomes, but true value and meaningful results are often missing. Work martyrdom (which usually involves little real value) is typically saluted in a workplace governed by time. Time does NOT guarantee results.
C. We need to embrace the right autonomy and flexibility to support high value outcomes, along with self-accountability. Coaching people to deliver extraordinary value needs to become THE focus versus “managing people.”
- Demonstrate self-accountability and work for someone who promotes the earned independence that goes with that trait. If someone is watching you for control, get out fast!
- Be absolutely clear about what drives value and defines results in your role. You, your boss, and other stakeholders should have a common view. This should include not only what you accomplish but also the good will behavior attached to your performance. If it’s not clearly written down be prepared for a problem down the road. You will be unpleasantly surprised.
- STOP talking about WHERE people work! Reinforce the principle that people need to be where and when they need to be… To get the results they’re paid to achieve!
NO dumb WATCHING in The Triangle,