Friday, March 27, 2009

On-Site Insight Number Two

Okay, Stella technically wasn't on-site this week. She was not in her home office, but rather than traveling to the Real Office she instead went to the city where her Real Office used to be for a conference. That is a terrible sentence. I should just say, "Baltimore".

Yes, the conference was quite worthwhile. Yes, Stella managed to get a fair amount of the regular work done at night and that one day when the luncheon was so packed full that she couldn't get a seat and so she hid in her hotel room for an hour and a half and worked while eating a bag of salt-and-vinegar potato chips she pilfered from the exhibitors luncheon buffet. But here is my on-site insight for this trip:

Being out of the office causes a greater hit on productivity than just the time spent away -- you have to add in the time you spend catching up, too. You know it's true: when you're not in your office, even though you answer your phone and zip off emails every time your Palmberry goes off, the reality is that there are something things that you just can't deal with when you're not in your natural habitat. It's more a mental thing, I think, than a lack of access to the technical or information resources you need.

Maybe it's just me, but I find when I crack open my Blackberry and see some horrible problem arise and it's ten at night and I'm in a hotel room, I just can't deal with it. It exasperates me. I don't want to fire up my VPN and get the documents that prove that the other person is deranged and send them around to all the people the crazy person carbon-copied on the original message.*

I. Just. Don't. Want. To.

So I fire off an email response that says, "I'll fix your wagon when I get back home." And I do that again and again. And then when I get back home I have to pick through all that stuff I only half answered and re-answer it. Not efficient. Ah well, such is life. I should be all caught up by Friday.

* For the record: this didn't actually happen on this trip. All my colleagues were perfectly well-behaved and in full possession of their mental faculties, no worries.

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