Business 1.0 January/February 2019

August 4th, 2021 by Bryan

Homework???

By Lyle R. Hill

I answered it as it finished its third ring and offered up my usual, if not long overdue for a change, salutation. As soon as the caller started to speak, I recognized his somewhat irritating voice. It was the voice of Johnny ‘The Mooch’ Rago.

“Hill,” he began, “long time no talk. Heard ya had some problems with your heart, so how are you feeling?”

“Who told you about my heart problems Mooch?”

“Oh I bumped into Jungle Jim Bruney a few days ago … we have the same parole officer. Jungle Jim still does some work with Stumpy Darby and Stumpy bumped into one of your kids and that’s how I found out. Anyhow, how are you doing?”

“I haven’t got any money Mooch.”

“I’m not looking for money Hill. I’m looking for advice.”

“I’m outta that too,” I replied.

“Maybe you are but why don’t you hear me out.”

“All right, Mooch, let’s hear it.”

“Thanks, Hill. Here’s the thing … you work from home right?”

“Yes, but not much.”

“Ok, I just want to know what you think about this whole work from home thing.”

“Well, I don’t think it’s for everyone and some very large corporations have started eliminating, or at least drastically cutting back on, their work from home programs. Even the government has eliminated the program in some departments and reduced the scale of it in others. In fact, recently the USDA announced a huge change in its work from home policy. So if the Feds are making changes, you gotta take notice. However, I do see some advantages for certain situations. But generally, I don’t like it and think it gets pretty abused. I know more than a few people who claim to work from home who spend more time at the golf course than they do in their home office.

With the ability to forward calls to your cell phone and have computer access anywhere at any time, I don’t believe it’s a good idea in a lot of situations. Some of the larger corporations that are reversing course on this also say they lose collaboration and innovation when they let people work from home. At the same time, I read a report that stated over 30 percent of recent college grads have jobs where they work from home. Maybe some of these employers recognize the newer generation wants more flexibility and is used to working alone whenever possible.

Other studies report the average office based employee spends almost 25 percent of their time on things not related to their job. And the computer is often to blame … online shopping, online chats with friends and family, and all kinds of other distractions. So I think in some cases, it may work, in others it will not and to some extent, it might not matter either way. Each case needs its own determination. I think as long as you have some way of measuring productivity, it’s probably OK to have people working from home.”

“I think its stupid Hill. You know human nature almost as well as I do. If you aren’t watching them, they will do what they want to do when they want to do it.”

“Some will Mooch but if there are performance standards, deadlines and clear responsibilities, it can work. Like all things, it comes down to the quality of the people you are working with.”

“So Hill, if I worked for you would you let me work from home?”

“Mooch, I wouldn’t let you work for me from home, the office, or anywhere else. But where are you going with all of this?”

“So here’s the deal Hill. My oldest kid, Johnny Junior, has a job where he can work from home. But with two kids under the age of three, a dog, a cat and a wife that talks a lot, he says he can’t work from his home so he’s working from mine. In the spare bedroom.”

“Ok Mooch and what’s wrong with that?”

“The problem is that he’s developing some bad habits. He’s hanging around at the track and a couple of casinos, meeting up with old pals and starting down a bad path overall. I just don’t think he’s one of those people that should be working from home. He lacks discipline. He lacks self-control. He is incapable of self-motivation.”

“So Mooch I’m guessing you are afraid he’ll lose his job.”

“No Hill, I’m much more afraid he’s turning into me.”

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America and a former owner of a window film company in the Midwest. He is also the president of Glass.com. He has more than 35 years of experience in glass-related industries.

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