I Can't See You...!

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”   Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin

I have worked almost exclusively for supervisors and organizations that believe to their very core, if they cannot see me working 8 hours a day, if they cannot watch me at my computer working all day long, that I couldn't possibly be working at all. If the organization cannot see me, I must be goofing off, taking a 2-hour lunch, trolling on Facebook, building a Pinterest page, making dinner reservations, or living an underground life on the company's payroll. The implication is that the ONLY reason why I do the job I was hired to do is because I am dutifully being watched.

Snow days? Considered just an excuse not to spend 4 hours in traffic because I am not tough enough. Four hours in traffic truly inspires me to get down to work in a focused and energetic manner. For sure.

Doctor's Appointment? Considered code for a job interview. Anyone truly strong doesn't get sick and doesn't have real doctor's appointments. Okay.

Sick children? Considered either a failure to hire a good back-up nanny or a "Mom thing" that takes me out of serious consideration for getting promoted after being watched for 8 hours a day. Yipee.

YOU sick? This is just the most inexcusable reason to work from home. You should be brave enough to come into the office and infect the rest of the team with your plague because that will make us all so much more productive. Of course.

I have always let my team work from "wherever" they needed to work. As a leader of a digital marketing team, having a laptop and VPN will give you what you need to work from anywhere. And I have never had a problem managing this process.

Let's take a look at what not having a "work from home" policy implies about YOU and your company:

#1: You hire people you do not trust to do the job. They do not have any self-initiative and are ready to go off the rails without constant monitoring and surveillance.

#2. Your 8-hour surveillance guarantees that the work is getting done because no one on their computer is looking at twitter or Facebook while sitting at their desks.

#3. Stealing from Richard Branson, you must have a team of individuals without the drive or expertise to perform excellently without you watching them.

Wow. Why did you hire these folks? I think your problems are much bigger than the location of where this mediocre team works. You are quite simply hiring the wrong people. I also wonder why you like babysitting adults. Do you have time to do your job?

There are absolute benefits for teams to work together and be together:

#1: Building trust with your team that does take actual face-to-face contact.

#2: Some project tasks are better suited for "an everyone in the room" event and speed can be achieved in a shorter amount of time if the team is physically together.

#3. It can actually be fun to brainstorm and creatively work with other colleagues to solve problems and execute tasks. Positive energy is created and new ideas developed.

Is your resistance to supporting working from home because you know YOU would slack off and not work? Is your resistance to supporting working from home because your business style is command and control? And you need that control?

I know I am always looking to build the type of teams that Richard Branson so clearly articulates, teams that have the "drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen". Besides, I have my own job to do and surveillance is not one of them! I don't need to watch you do your job. Let go...