1-9-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Giving the Cube Farm Some Love

With the slow rise of telecommuting, many people, myself included, dream of the flexibility of remote work. But such an arrangement requires a strong sense of discipline and, as Forrest Brazeal indicates, it might come with some costs that many aren't thinking about:

This seems like a good place to bring up the larger issue of distractions. Cube farms are notorious for being noisy, exposed to interruptions and full of "prairie dogs" -- people who pop their heads above the cubicle walls to engage in loud conversations. Reducing these distractions is a primary goal for many people who work remotely.

I struggle with office distractions as much as anybody, but I feel like working from home isn't really a solution for me. For one thing, there are plenty of other distractions at home. (My refrigerator calls more loudly to me than a whole office full of prairie dogs.) For another thing, as technology has improved, many of the traditional workplace diversions like unnecessary meetings and impromptu conversations have crept right into remote employees' schedules. In fact, several of my work-from-home colleagues are routinely forced to sign out of the team's instant messaging system during the day to cut down on interruptions. And that brings us right back to the "passive face time" dilemma, because if you're not in the office and nobody can get ahold of you, you have to be concerned about appearing to be off work entirely. [bold added]
Brazeal follows up his insightful post with another that addresses feedback from readers who strongly favor working from home.

Weekend Reading

"While whoever ran that red light felt like he was in control, he was actually undermining his ability to cope in the real world." -- Michael Hurd, in "Running Red Lights: A Metaphor for Life" at The Delaware Wave

"Each of these speakers is doing more to help the world move to the gold standard than all the sound money conferences in the world." -- Keith Weiner, in "Monetary Innovation Is the Path Forward" at SNB & CHF

"Cleaning your house is a tried-and-true way to gain a sense of control over your life in a visible and immediate way." -- Michael Hurd, in "Windex & Pledge vs. Prozac & Xanax ... It's a Thought" at The Delaware Coast Press

I Could Have Used This When I Was Younger

Dave Delaney, on applying some great customer relations advice from his boss:
When I returned to the office, I was laughing out loud. The jackass didn't get me in a bad mood, far from it. I was in an even better mood than before dealing with him, because I won. He couldn't have complained about me being too nice!
I think the best merit of this advice is that it depersonalizes such encounters by preemptively setting a psychological boundary. The "winning", which can be nice extra, come from the fact that people who do things like this are deprived of psychological visibility, which is what they are seeking.

-- CAV

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