Re: "face time" at the office

Subject: Re: "face time" at the office
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 16:34:06 -0500 (CDT)

What Janice says is so, so true.

Although I love the freedom to work from home -- and as a contractor I make it clear that that is what I prefer -- I have to admit that the one time I recently worked at a place that required everyone to be on site -- man, it was GREAT. In terms of getting answers in Real Time -- everyone was somewhere in the building unless their jobs took them on the road, or they were home sick. I could get answers within minutes, usually.

Think of the old idea of Management by Walking Around. I don't think there's a better way for managers to find out what's going on and recognize problems early, and we're losing it as teams disperse across towns, states, and continents.

I also worked at a place that had many small meeting rooms scattered around every floor. It was routine to bump into someone, get to talking about an issue, duck into a conference room and resolve the question on the spot. Each meeting room had at least one whiteboard, too, so if an engineer needed to sketch something out for me, he or she could. (Ironically, the company was outsourcing like mad. Its office design upheld one philosophy; its bean counters another. Guess which won out!)

That kind of spontaneity and directness is lost completely when people work from home.


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