RE: "face time" at the office

Subject: RE: "face time" at the office
From: "John Rosberg" <jrosberg -at- interwoven -dot- com>
To: "Nancy Allison" <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>, "Janice Gelb" <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 08:23:33 -0500

I think Nancy's hit the nail on the head -- one of our best writers
works almost completely remotely, and is succeeding admirably -- he
states, however, that the extra effort required to do so is large, and
is only succeeding insofar as the rest of the team is willing to extend
themselves to ensure good communication.

Homo Sapiens are social creatures (thought most technical writers may be
the exception that proves the rule), and the amount of decisions made,
designs hatched, features added and subtracted regarding projects (in
the software development world, at least) is very large indeed -- while
good project management CAN overcome this tendency, it doesn't take much
to leave a remote working without a clue, and working in a manner that
just doesn't support the overall effort.

This, of course, is no the fault of the remote employee, but it is
something that has to be managed.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Allison [mailto:maker -at- verizon -dot- net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 4:34 PM
To: Janice Gelb; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: "face time" at the office

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,

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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Re: "face time" at the office: From: Nancy Allison

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