Those less fortunate

A meeting this morning with a client who shall remain nameless in a sector which I will not identify, in a city not far from our own, and yet in a universe far removed. The shtick for blogging/whatevercasting/wiki’ing fell a little flat when they patiently described that they’re restricted to five personal emails a day and a working under a system which blocks emails with words like “football” in them. Suddenly I feel very lucky to be working in supportive surroundings, to be trusted to cope with work pressure any way I want so long as results are got, to get the freedom to spend fairly large parts of the day playing occasionally play Desktop Tower Defense.

Paul Graham says:

The basic idea behind office hours is that if you can’t make people work, you can at least prevent them from having fun. If employees have to be in the building a certain number of hours a day, and are forbidden to do non-work things while there, then they must be working. In theory. In practice they spend a lot of their time in a no-man’s land, where they’re neither working nor having fun.

If you could measure how much work people did, many companies wouldn’t need any fixed workday. You could just say: this is what you have to do. Do it whenever you like, wherever you like. If your work requires you to talk to other people in the company, then you may need to be here a certain amount. Otherwise we don’t care.

That may seem utopian, but it’s what we told people who came to work for our company. There were no fixed office hours. I never showed up before 11 in the morning. But we weren’t saying this to be benevolent. We were saying: if you work here we expect you to get a lot done. Don’t try to fool us just by being here a lot.”

I can’t do anything but bellow in agreement. Any workplace that doesn’t credit people with wanting to do a good job scares the hell out of me. If I ever get to rule the world I’ll institute IBM’s blogging guidelines  as a constitution and then get out of the way and let everyone get on with their lives.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: