Cubicle Cultures – Company Philosophy and Working From Home

work from home

I have a friend who has been trying for the better part of 2 years to work from home. Last week, it finally happened and he dialed in this past Saturday. Here is his story.

It was a joyous occasion! One that I’ve rarely had the pleasure of experiencing.

In years past, it was a pain to get approvals for remote access, aka dialing in aka work from home aka convenience. Paperwork, submitting requests, endless signatures, and a final approval could take weeks, especially when the request sits on the desk of a VP or higher.

Each company I’ve worked for had basically the same policy. There’s always a risk sending data over the internet. Data can get lost, inadvertently downloaded or even worse, someone could hack into the system and really tear things up.

Security breaches happen all the time. Everyone’s personal information has probably been lifted by someone at some point. But boy, did it feel good to walk from the bedroom to my home office about 30 feet away.

To Work from Home

It’s not just about the convenience of not having to be at the office at 0-Dark-30 for some sort of issue or implementation. For me, it’s about not getting up in the wee hours and having to drive anywhere.

It’s about not being constantly tired during the day. It’s also about having a short walk back to bed; no driving home tired, or keyed up from what happened at work that day.

Throughout much of my I.T. career I was classified as non-essential personal. It meant my company didn’t require me to show up during inclement weather or application issues. However, my wonderful company would force me to take leave time for that day, a double-edged sword.

It’s a backdoor for the company to punish its employees in my opinion. Turns out that I was essential whether I liked it or not.

Work from Home Weather

One example: Back in 2001 I lived in the bitter cold of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was with a large corporation that had no issue with folks working from home. There wasn’t the kind of security breaches there are these days so the company didn’t really worried about it. It was nice.

When winter hit and a gazillion feet of lake effect snow brought the wrath of Mother Nature, I was toasty in the living room keeping up with work deliverables and conference calls. Again, it was nice (except having to bulldoze my way out of the driveway).

Distracting Kids and Family Members

Another example: Company policies can and do enforce a rule that if your kids are at home due to crappy weather, you can’t work because of the ‘distraction’. The same rule was in place if you had an infirmed family member that needed care that day. It’s an archaic rule that needs to change.

I get it, but family should come before work and there has to be some leeway. There are some situations that can’t be avoided but don’t punish employees by not allowing them to work from home even if it’s just for a little while. At least leave it to the employee to choose which is best for their situation.

Time to Rewrite the Policy

It’s such a simple courtesy: Rewrite the policy. Weather, a sick family member, or if you’re sick (and possibly contagious), then work from home. How hard is this for employers to understand? Profits and stakeholders will still be in place when employees can’t be in the office.

Apparently hanging on to their archaic policies must be more important than their employee’s safety. Rewriting the policy may even breed some loyalty or a simple thanks from those of us risking our lives to increase the bottom line.

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