Images of Industrial Age Office Work: Clock Watcher

Clock Watcher 16" X 20" acrylic Copyright © 2013 by Nathan Myhre

Clock Watcher 16″ X 20″ acrylic
Copyright © 2013 by Nathan Myhre

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that Nathan Myhre would be contributing art that represents the life of the average Industrial Age knowledge worker. I say “Industrial Age” even when it comes to post-Industrial parts of the world because we’re still bidding a long and difficult farewell to the Industrial Age work-style with most knowledge workers coming, going, and working essentially the same work-shift (9-to-5). What’s the alternative? Harness and utilize today’s technology to give workers more control over where and when they work as well as to work more productively. Continue reading

This one is for those who think that work environment doesn’t matter

As a strong proponent of giving people more control over where they work, it was only a short matter of time before I ran up against those who erroneously insist that work environment doesn’t matter. Their claim is that the only thing that matters is that you’re doing what you’re good at and that it doesn’t matter where you are doing this at. They don’t get it. If work environment really doesn’t matter, then the following clip from the popular film Office Space would not register as anything significant. What’s the difference anyway if Milton works on the same floor as everyone else or in the basement if work environment doesn’t matter? Continue reading

Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it

Conventional wisdom posits that the needs of employees and their employer are at odds with each other, however this assumption is not necessarily true. A mutually symbiotic relationship granting employees freedom and flexibility while increasing engagement and, hence, productivity is achievable! Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People will force you to examine how you think about work as well as how we unknowingly support the current, conventional view of work through the establishment and use of flexible work arrangements. Conventional flexible work arrangements, by the way, can’t achieve what a results-only work environment (ROWE) can. Continue reading

Towards Recognition of Individual Differences and a Less Standardized Work World

“But not everyone can work this way!” is the most common, instinctive response I hear when talking about telework (especially in a full-time capacity) or results-only-work-environment (ROWE). Through everyday conversations I learn about instances where a full-time teleworker had a difficult time working this way because the presence of a spouse or child at home was distracting. In such a case, I point out that teleworkers need to establish ground rules before attempting to work from home. Moreover, one can still keep daycare arrangements, enlist the services of a sitter, or work at a co-working facility if one is available. On the other hand, I’ve experienced working with coworkers who’ve constantly distracted me with non-work related issues as well (e.g., peppering me with questions about whether or not I want to have children for the umpteenth time), so working in a centralized office isn’t a definite solution to distractions. My conversation partner also pointed out that I’m just lucky to be able to function more autonomously and not need so much social support at work and that this is the reason why the benefits of telework speak to me so much. She followed up by saying that other people are not this way, but I already know that. Continue reading

Surveillance at Work: Issues and Recommendations

The possibility of employers checking potential hires’ social networking sites to attain a more in-depth look at what candidates might really be like is now common knowledge. Likewise, most people also know that employers are increasingly monitoring their computer activities at work and that this can come in the form of programs that track time spent on work related and non-work related software as well as the types of websites you visit. These have become part of a “new normal.” However, surveillance can be more invasive and extend beyond the workplace itself. It can come in the form of tracking, through GPS, where you drive the company vehicle or employers’ hiring private investigators to verify health or injury claims as the following video shows: Continue reading