Work from Home Rules

Posted by Richard Moran.

The idea of working from home is one thing; the reality tends to be another. . The imagination can conjure an image of one sitting at a quiet desk with a cup of tea in deep thought. The scene might look like a writer’s retreat full of books and the kind of surroundings where a great novel could develop. That’s the imagination. The reality was put to me by a group of young people who live together. Each one works for a different company and each is now required to work from home. To preserve order they established a set of house rules. The rules might apply to you too…

WFH RULES

  1. Put on real clothes in the morning and get out of your pajamas. Real shoes required and sweat clothes do not count as real clothes.
  2. Discussion of getting a puppy or kitten will not be tolerated.
  3. Use toilet paper only when necessary. Every sheet counts.
  4. Talk to Mom no more than thirty minutes per day.
  5. Don’t start drinking alcohol until 4:30.
  6. Leave the apartment every day even if it is raining. Take as long as you want.
  7. No daytime television shows. None.
  8. Stay away from stalking old boyfriends or girlfriends. If you do, no discussion allowed about it.
  9. Productivity is not measured in the number of emails sent. Don’t brag.
  10. Have a daily meeting to tell each other to share anxieties and moods and to eliminate annoying habits in others.
  11. Limit news coverage to no more than one hour per day.
  12. Keep things clean and do the dishes after each meal. No piling up in the sin.

Working from home can be a challenge, especially in an apartment where space is at a premium. Under the best conditions, it can still be noisy, distracting and challenging to get real work done.  Like this group of Millennials who established rules, better to set boundaries and expectations than to give up.

It’s easier to go into the office to be productive. But today for many, that is not an option.

How to Name A Company

Posted by Richard Moran.

It’s impossible! Finding a name for a company is time consuming, frustrating and not a creative endeavor at all. It doesn’t matter whether you are naming the company you are about to start in your garage or a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Every name is already taken. Every fruit and vegetable is long gone. Curse you, Steve Jobs. Every term that connotes innovation is gone. Every sailing term is gone. Every Greek and Roman god or goddess name is taken. Every tool, color and cloud formation is not available. We are left with making up names. But that’s not as easy as one would think. Slap together any four letters followed by a dot com and chances are that someone is holding on to it in the hopes that someone will want to buy it for a bunch of Bitcoin.

One idea is to just add a letter to a word. Of course, this creates a spelling error and creates confusion with the place that uses the correct spelling. Another idea is to make a name full of x, y or z’s that make no sense. The drug companies are good at this technique and have created an entire world of unpronounceable words. You could consider also using just a bunch of symbols like the artist Prince did a while ago. However, that still doesn’t solve the problem since you will be known as “the company formerly known as….” So you need to have a name to be formerly known as.

 Really long names are generally available but who wants to type in “thegreatestplacetoworkintheworld.com”? (It’s available.) When a good short name that is available is stumbled upon we discover that names are not all priced the same. A cool available name followed by a dot com is way more expensive than a long bad name. Legend has it that in the early days the Internet pioneers all reserved the good names and are now just waiting for us to offer them millions. Forget about it.

So for all of you entrepreneurs struggling with names, stop suffering. Don’t abandon your dream because a name is not available. Just find a name that is available, easy to pronounce and move on. When you are successful, the name won’t matter. Think Exxon and Accenture.

Are You Listening?

Posted by Richard Moran.

Worries abound. We worry about the state of the world; we worry about batteries running low and we worry about keeping up with all the new shows on Netflix. To add to the big list of worries, we are now concerned about who might be listening to us. Alexa is often accused of listening to more than our commands to turn on the music.  Even without Alexa in the room there are mysteries.  Ever mention some thing like, “Someday I want to go to Paris for a long vacation”? Then, for the rest of the year you are barraged with ads about airfare and hotels in France? We have long known that our cell phones are little broadcasting devices that give away our location and maybe our thoughts to every retailer we walk by. And don’t get me started on the aliens in space and their tricks on listening to us.

The irony of all the listening is that too often the people and organizations we want to hear us are not listening.  Leaders need to listen more to their supporters and to those who are less supportive. Our bosses need to listen more and not just selectively to what they want to hear.  Where there is a workplace with people who listen, there are happier people.

More than one company I know conducted all-employee surveys to measure the attitudes and perspectives of the people. Once the surveys were complete, the results were so bad that no results were ever presented back to employees. In effect, the comments and feelings of those who completed surveys and poured out their hearts were ignored. The silence regarding communicating the findings of the survey only exacerbated the sense that no one listens, no one cares. Major turnover problems ensued. Why bother to ask for opinions if there is not any intent to do anything about what is heard?

Communication, or the lack thereof is almost always the number one issue in a workplace. People want to know what is going on and how they can make things better. Listening is not a passive activity, it is a key element in making a healthy workplace.

We all need to listen more. Listening is a skill that can be developed if it doesn’t come naturally. More than listening, we need to hear what others say especially if their views are from different backgrounds and perspectives. If we heard more we could do more to improve work and the relationships there. 

What do you think could improve workplace communication?

Hello? Are you listening?