I spotted this WSJ article a few weeks ago and thought it was extremely appropriate as we start to enter the summertime. Many companies introduce more flexible schedules consisting of 9-80’s, half day Fridays, VO or WFH days once a week, etc. as a perk to their employees. Truth be told, for big companies with large capital expenses on office space, that day or two a month without having to crank the AC can also help out the bottom line.
The article describes some current acceptable forms of behavior when working remotely or “from home” as my wife would say. And some equally unacceptable faux pas seen by folks quoted in the article while participating on group, video conference calls. The quote I used in the title of this blog was one of my favorites. Tie and boxer shorts for a meeting sounds interesting.
My colleagues at Thought Ensemble and I are a small example of the remote work forces enabled by increasingly efficient and affordable technologies in the last 5+ years. I’ve personally written several blogs about my ability to focus and stay on track while working remotely. I’m able to block out other office related inputs (drive bys, water cooler conversation) and push through a ton of work. Companies provide you with the tools such as laptops, VPNs and the other basic instructions on how to use them, and then you’re off an running.
But who provides employees the basic instructions on more practical aspects of working remotely? Is their a guidebook provided by your employer for things like remote conference calls…like how do you deal with the background noise, and block it out? i.e., the solicitor at the door, the dog that barks, even the grandfather clock that chimes every hour on the hour? What’s expected of me then? How do I mute my surroundings? And in terms of the article, what is expected of me to wear? A full suit for a sales call. A pair of slacks and button down for normal calls. Is it different by type of call, video vs. audio only? Or maybe by day? Monday business, Friday flip flops.
I’m not saying I’d like another set of rules to follow. But according to the WSJ, I guess it wouldn’t hurt for some people!
(Full disclosure. I wrote this blog while sitting at my house, underneath a ceiling fan, trying my best to stay relatively comfortable at the start of what I’m hoping is not nearly as brutal a Summer in N. Texas. I’m definitely not in work clothes, but without a video conference to be on this afternoon, I decided a pair of shorts and a t-shirt was adequate.)