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Thursday, October 16, 2008

What I Did On My Work From Home Day (and what it means)

As part of the Work From Home (WFH) project test I have tried to work from home every Thursday morning unless I was out of town. This was a great time for me to get "head space", but also to test how you lead a staff while not there. Today was different; I started out planning to just work the morning and, by lunchtime, was in such a groove that I stayed home all day. There are those in our company, and outside it, who don't believe you can be productive from home. There are others who think that its fine for staff members, but not someone in leadership. To all of you I offer my day today. Some details are generalized for confidentiality.

Because I didn't have to commute in I was in the kitchen when my wife and daughter left for their respective jobs. I never get to see them in the morning and this was nice. After they left, I went upstairs at 8:30, fired up the VPN connection, and the day began. Roughly in this order my next eight hours were:
  • Took care of my overnight email
  • Long conference call with the leadership team of one division regarding a major project
  • Follow-up call with staff member to redirect their work for today in support of that project
  • While on the same call, took time to catch up with staff member on status of another project
  • Placed follow-up call to another staff member and left instructions in support of same project
  • Reviewed documents on Web Ex site set up for this project
  • Resolved an expense report issue
  • Corresponded with colleagues on 401(k) issue (unclaimed former employee assets)
  • Mopped-up relocation reimbursement documentation issue
  • "Met" via email with various colleagues to approve on-site vendor solicitation (we monitor these carefully)
  • Consulted with staff member on a job offer; to make it or not to make it.
  • Reviewed and approved Predators Faith Night offer for distribution to the workforce
  • Consulted with staff member on benefits cost analysis research and how to conclude task
  • Drafted disciplinary action for VP to administer to one of their staff members
  • Consulted with SVP on special recruiting project, status, candidates, and next actions
  • Conducted call with staff member on tomorrow's actions needed for that SVP's search.
  • Fielded a series of questions from a member of management regarding a proposed promotion for one of his staff.
  • Collaborated/edited follow-up survey from all-employee meeting before it was distributed
  • Consulted with SVP on short-term sales incentive program.
  • Consulted with staff member on "on the floor" feedback from yesterday's all-employee meeting
  • Fielded data request from CEO/CFO (to be completed tomorrow)
  • Polled ELT members for alignment on proposed policy change

In the midst of all this, I managed to walk the dog twice, meet the lady who delivers the dry cleaning, the mail man, the UPS man, finalized arrangements for Saturday night's monthly guitar circle, and made dinner. I ended up the day with my inbox at zero, one unreturned phone call (the caller was gone home by the time I could return it), and two items undone but queued-up for tomorrow morning. During the course of the day I directed the work of or at least spoke to five of my six staff members and corresponded a half-dozen times with my CEO.

What does this all mean? It means that those of us in leadership can leverage the technology we have to direct the work of our teams and service our internal customers from somewhere other than our offices. Some of the same members of our leadership team who don't believe this travel extensively and do believe they effectively lead their teams from hotels and airports. I propose to them, and to you, that all of us can lead more effectively from our home office than from Hampton Inn. This means that we can include certain members of the leadership team in the space sharing program, which we should expand as quickly as we can without disrupting our business.

Given this capability, its time to leverage WFH to drastically reduce our space costs, sublease LVP and the ground floor of the Plano office, and put that money on the bottom line.

1 comment:

davidpleach said...

Jim, you've done it again. What a great post. Keep mapping out the WFH process. Greater efficiencies and happier employees are coming thanks to you and your team.