Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why Your Company is Badly Managing You

Zaytinya - Washington DC with Darren.  FANTASTIC restaurant.
Ok, so your company may not be *badly* mismanaged but in all likelihood, a lot of you will nod your head when you read this thinking, “Gee, that Arun is really on to something!  Aside from being devilishly handsome, fabulously witty, and a great dresser, he really has my company pegged.  I should go show my boss this post so that he can make my work experience really enjoyable!  Arun saves the day again!”

Disclaimer: your boss may be old and stuffy and spit in the face of this article when you show it to him in which case I trust that you’ll defend my honor.

I suppose there’s a possibility that YOU reading this ARE the old stuffy guy (unlikely because most of my readers are young and…uh…flowing (or whatever the opposite of stuffy is)), in which case maybe you should implement my suggestions into your company and put a big poster of my face on the office wall.

So when you think of most companies or jobs, what do you think of?  I’ll help you out here.
  • 8 hour days
  • 1 hour lunches
  • Cubicles/offices
  • Endless Meetings
  • Dress codes

And I’m sure there are a few others in there.  So how much fun does all of that sound?  If you said, “Gee Arun that sounds swell!  Where do I sign up?!?” well then you my friend are an idiot.

All of these things were a staple of my old engineering office job, and surprise surprise, I hated it.

But the truth is, these things are the main structure of most of my friends’ jobs too, and whether or not they like their job, these restrictions are suffocating. 

I was required to be at work from about 8-5 but frankly, I rarely had 8 hours of work to do.  But, I had to show “face time” by being there for the entire 9 hours, many of which were spent in complete boredom.

Going out to lunch was always a little annoying because by the end, I was always rushing back to work.

Most meetings were a waste of time.  Two hour meetings frequently accomplished nothing and could’ve been productively finished in 30 minutes.

But I tell you this, my brothers and sisters…I have seen the other side, and it is magnificent!

As I mentioned in my last blog post (4 months ago…I know, I know…no more empty promises about frequent posting), I am now an independent marketing consultant.  I have four big clients right now and I work 100% remotely for all four.

My longest client, I’ve had for three years.  In three years, I’ve actually never once met anyone in that company.  We talk on the phone once or twice a week, email everyday, and manage to rake in pretty big money for the company.

So what is so special about these four companies that allows them to succeed without having all of their employees (or consultants in my case) in an office everyday?

Absolutely nothing

The only real difference I can see is that when working remotely, it’s paramount to set frequent milestones to ensure things get done on time.  I basically make weekly AND daily a to-do-for-work list that I update frequently.  Once finished with the days tasks, I relax and have fun.

I’m not going to lie…it’s easy and tempting to put off work when you don’t have Bossy McStufferson looking over your shoulder and are not required to go to a daytime prison with desks to get work done.

But my productivity-per-minute-working is exponentially better now when I work on my terms.  For example, no one can work for four hours straight and maintain optimal productivity for the whole duration.  I generally work in one to two hour increments with frequent breaks.  So throughout a day, I have a lot of “work bursts” that are ultra productive.

I know that it’s easiest for me to get distracted at home, so I make it a routine to go somewhere (usually one of my favorite coffee shops) every morning to sit down and work. 

I tend to bring my laptop a lot of places so that, if I have some down time, I can burst out some work.

And when you have control of your day, then work becomes, dare I say, enjoyable (hence the reason I love Mondays)!

So right now, I’m writing this post from a French bakery in Georgetown, Washington DC (and eating an incredible macaroon I might add – they don’t call me the “Mac-Arun” just because I like the ladies).  Last week, I was in Philadelphia visiting my sister and adorable new nephew, but went to a coffee shop in center city everyday to work and take a lot to take some of the load off of this week for sight-seeing and hanging out.  Tomorrow, I’m heading to New York for a few days before heading back to San Diego.

The train ride will be a great time to work and prepare for meeting a potential new client in New York.

But this isn’t a vacation…it’s a “workation”.  I take some time out of each day to work, yet I still have time to hang out with my friends and sight-see.  Work flexibility allows this type of enjoyment and makes me want to work even harder because I love this lifestyle so much.  I mean, I frequently will work some on the weekends because, for me, there’s really no difference in the day of the week other than the fact that more of my friends are free during the day on Saturday and Sunday.

So contrary to Bossy Mcstufferson’s belief that “employees might go rogue and never work” if given independence, I think they would actually work HARDER because they’re much happier and because they want to keep this independence.  In fact, the friends that I know that DO work from home a lot, are incredibly valuable to their company and really excel more than the average employee.

I frequently ask my friends who work in offices about the possibility of working remotely, and they say that they could, at the very least, work a couple of days per week at home.

How nice would it be to have four days out of the week to sleep in a little extra?  Or not having to worry about rush hour traffic for a couple of extra days?  Maybe run some errands when you don’t have to battle the typical rush hour crowds and thus be able to create MORE time in your day?.  Wouldn’t it make you want to work harder to reward your boss’s trust?

Having now worked independently for almost three years now, I can’t imagine going back to the office life.  

But, I would encourage those of you in the office, to write a proposal to your boss in which you are working remotely for at least one day a week…get your toe in the door first then slowly crank that baby open until you’re going to the office only as much as you have to!  I think Tim Ferriss writes something about this in his book “The Four-Hour Work Week” but I can’t remember exactly what he says.

If he/she approves, then you’re welcome to come with me on my random east coast jaunts or other travel excursions which, this summer will include Cabo San Lucas, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, England, and Sweden.

It’s not vacation – it’s “workation.”  Luckily for me, all of those places have wireless internet ;)