Monday, March 15, 2010

Office or No Office, Goofing Off Is a Risk

So apparently there was some sort of summit where people were asked whether the whole notion of an office, of work being a place you go, was obsolete. And a lot of people who were there thought yeah, there isn't any reason if you are in a knowledge-based business to have a single physical space that is where your employees work.

Stella certainly subscribes to this theory.

But then there is always some person in the audience who is all, "But how do I know people are working? What if they're watching NCAA tourneys all day?" Um, dude? If they're going to watch NCAA tourneys all day, they can do that at work on the internet. Have you heard of the internet? They have it on the computer now.

You can't nannygoat your employees all the time. Goof offs will goof off no matter where they are. You need to have real work for people to do, and you need to manage them to make sure they're doing their work -- are they writing the code, making the sales calls, delivering the proposals, hitting the milestones. This is the stuff that your business is made of, not staring blankly at a spreadsheet for hours on end because they are having an in-cube sabbatical and are merely fulfilling their face time requirements.

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