(This soapbox rant comes as a result to some interesting feedback I received at work yesterday. Apparently, a couple of people had complained to the boss of my boss about the hours I keep and background entertainment I run on my machine. Whereas some people like to listen to music, sports radio, or some other form of entertainment in the background while they work, I prefer to run live streams of professional gamers—I imagine there are those that may misinterpret my background media as me playing games, but still. I also tend to work from home in the mornings to better fit with my work/life balance, and then I stay later than the average bear at the office when I come in. I was somewhat surprised that this came up, and thus I felt compelled to write this response. Hopefully, this will serve to benefit the understanding of those complainants as well as any other “normal” people in the workforce)
Dear Workforce of the World,
The pace of innovation is breaking down barriers and letting more people contribute more ideas in more different ways than ever before. More people from more diverse lifestyles can fill roles that were previously inaccessible to them. Flexible work schedules, working remotely, and flatter organizations all combine to form a more responsive and adaptive working culture in a world where change is more constant than stasis.
With that understanding established, I would ask one favor from the career office jockeys: break your expectations. From dress code changes to the changing working hours people keep, the workplace has been constantly evolving. Being flexible with each other’s working style is crucial in making a successful organization. So the next time you see someone working different from you, consider learning about their working style before jumping to conclusions and expending extra cycles raising the issue elsewhere in the organization. Who knows, perhaps you will be able to learn some new advantages to their different working style and apply it in your own life.
A Non-Traditional Worker
(In the spirit of taking my own medicine, I recognize how my unconventional working style can come off as abrasive or disturbing to the “normal” worker. So, I will change my ways when I’m in the office so as to leave a good impression, but that does not mean I won’t stop working to broaden the horizons of everyone around me. Hopefully, we will grow individually and organizationally to become more flexible and adaptive to the changes & differences that arise in this beautiful world.)
Leian Rust Felton liked this on Facebook.
I totally agree with you on every point. The difficulty comes when one isn’t hired with an understanding of those exact expectations…working from home, openness about the background entertainment, etc. I agree, like in the public education System, there is a lot of time wasted doing things inefficiently. It’s been proven that those who work from home are often more productive than those who go in.
However, unless that is the agreement as contracted, we must “play by the rules” and follow the politics of the place we choose to work at or go to school in. Otherwise, we can choose homeschooling, charter schools or own our own businesses or choose to work somewhere that has the same philosophies we do.
Some people have to wear a suit and tie to work…does it make them smarter or a better worker…probably not, but it’s what their work culture or office demands. It’s all around us. I’m not saying I like it or we can’t affect change. Letters like yours need to be read more and maybe society will change. But for the most part (like in the LDS Church as well) the “rules” of behavior and interaction are set for the weakest but even the strongest must comply.
I enjoy being self-employed for many of these reasons…but I won’t go into the reasons it sucks either. 😉
Good luck “submitting” your will until you can break out on your own or find others with the same view to work with/for. I think everyone has to do it. Take comfort in the fact that it could be worse and that you’re not the only one. Luv ya!
Really good thoughts! The silliest part of the story is the fact that the company policy explicitly allows for such flexibility. I guess the complainants might be jealous of my cool arrangement. 🙂
As a fellow employee of the same company, it saddens me that some (and only some!) of our colleagues do not understand that your work environment is part of what makes you a efficient worker. As long as it does not impact negatively those around you, it should never be a problem. Productivity is not measured by the hours spent at your desk.
And this comes from someone who dresses up for the office and keeps strict office hour presence and desk tidiness… but again that’s my choice, is only of value to me. Live and let live, or in this context, work and let work, should be the motto.