Scrap Your Work From Home Policy

I was recently asked by an HR manager if I had a sample of a policy about working from home. My answer was:

Do you want something more than "Get your work done. Meet your objectives. Do that from wherever you want."

Perhaps I was slightly joking. But really, not so much. I think we often go wrong trying to formalize policies around things that aren't the important things. Really, does it matter where your employees do their work, as long as they get it done?

Work is Not a Place You Go, But Something You Do™.

If I work in retail and need to serve customers, I obviously can't work from home. If my work is done on a certain machine in a factory, then I need to be in the factory to get my work done. But if my work is done on a computer, in the age of the "cloud", then what difference does it make if I work from home, from a Starbucks, or from the office? What if we just said "get your work done" and let people figure out where and when they can do it best? It takes a reinvention of what we think of as work.

The Productivity Lie

For years, we have been wrongly focused on time spent at work as a measure of productivity. The thing is, that measure of productivity simply makes no sense. For some reason, managers have a tendency to think others aren't working unless they can see them... but guess what? Just because your employee is sitting in their seat at their computer does not mean they are being productive.

George Costanza famously demonstrated this on Seinfeld when he locked his keys in his car in the Yankee's parking lot, making it look like he was the first one in and last one out every day. Check out what he had to say on Seinfeld:

Steinbrenner is like the first guy in, at the crack of dawn. He sees my car, he figures I'm the first guy in. Then, the last person to leave is Wilhelm. He se