Don’t make experiments!
How to play it save – and come to late.
Remember, when we talked about „sticking it to your boss“ therefore your company will go down because she/he is not a psychopath and might actually listen to it – and the damage is done?
The following is along those lines – just the other way around: she/he will not listen – until it’s too late.
Home office – do it without your colleagues knowing
The last time I talked to my boss* about home office, she looked at me as if I was planning to commute between bed and fridge all day long. Truth is, I was planning to do so, but with my laptop and phone in my hand (both devices can use some cooler air every once in a while).
Another side effect would have been, I could have prepared for my work better because office sometimes stressed me out on the basis of constant availability. Sure, my phone would be turned on at home also, but, as you probably agree, making a phone call is less likely than quickly sticking your head into the colleagues office.
Where was I? – Ah yes: my boss.
Another argument was, if I started doing home office, I might kick start some sort of craze over this with the other colleagues, meaning: they all wanted to go. Let’s not talk about the possibility that rates of employees opting for home office might (somehow) reflect the company’s culture and atmosphere at the workplace. In other words: everybody runs home if the vibes are bad. But apparently, my boss thought, this might be a bad development.
Now, it’s 2021 and guess what!? Everybody is in home office. E-ve-ry-bo-dy!
(Okay, I am exaggerating.)
I am not saying, I saw future coming, neither would I claim to be at the cutting edge of new developments (e.g. did you see this blog in the 2000s? See!) Yet, back then, home office was already a well established word which was not used as a mere hipster term anymore.
In fact, it was something my company back then had already prepared for in some ways: cloud server, remote desktop, and a CMS so co-working on shared docs was possible.
Yet, the analogue part of it, the actual work, was still somewhat 1990: in your office, at the desk, and nine to five (I am not knocking regulated working hours here – it’s better for your health!)
Home office was, that much can be said, something, a company could have warmed up to. But they did not. Because, home office in the analogue dimension still felt as an experiment. There was „Neuland“ to be set foot upon and many people do not like that.
The refusal to do so, its negative effects, can backfire on man levels:
- keeping up
- organizational readiness
organizational readiness If you set up a work environment with fairly new technology but do not act adequately on the process level, your organization is actually not really ready to use these technical advantages. You’re leaving half of its potential on the street (or in the server room for that matter).
keeping up When time comes and things turn further another notch, your company will have to make leaps to keep up with the competitors. It’s much more effort to jump from a card board box to a modern CMS with integrated ticket system than it is to come from an internally hosted CMS.
motivation Your employees might already roll with their eyes, because they know or at least have ideas where this is going to go. If you’re hitting the breaks (for whatever reason), this constant grind will wear (some of) them out.
Larger than optical fiber cords
Alright, you got me: let’s touch base with the cultural issue anyhow! Because, if you are constantly breaking, ask yourself why.
Is it larger than just technical issues? Is it ego? Or is it a matter of a developed habitus when it comes to organizational change?
So, if you’re not the captain (or Viktor, cf. link above) who has a really good reason, there’s probably something more complex responsible for being often rather calm in this department. This might have developed over a long time – hence, when time comes, you won’t be ready.
In general terms: Germany, the fourth largest economy in the world (2019), is not the leading country when it comes to digitization, it’s not even among the top ten of countries with a GDP per capita greater than $20,000. Why should its companies all be ready for a home office when it’s called for?
It’s your fault!
Make no mistake, this is not politics‘ fault. Because politics is the outcome of elections and so forth. In short: It’s your fault. Because your company did not upgrade in cultural (!) terms too, you also fell behind with technical investments.
So, if you wanna keep on this track, stick to your mantra: No experiments!
But if you want to change things here or at least want to figure out where the obstacle lies (nope, it’s not your non-existing high frequency data cord), you know what to do: call… in fact, don’t call me! First, make sure, if you really want to do this!
Then: call me!
*fictional, of course