Working in your Underwear?


What’s all this buzz about flexi-work?

I haven’t had an office since 2001.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not retired nor am I bumming around.

The organization I am with since 2001 practices “mobility” – you go to the office ONLY if you have a reason to.

And since most of us are traveling (like me – I travel almost every week) or at clients’ sites, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the company to own and hoard a lot of expensive real estate.

Those of us on mobility save the company so much we actually get a tiny allowance to cover some stationery costs, etc. The company even pays for our broadband connection.

Many people will think that such an arrangement will be open to abuse – that many of our staff may be sleeping at home.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, productivity has always been high since this program started. The whole mobility concept operates on trust, and for all of 2008, our sales rose by 4.9 per cent to US$103.6 billion, and net income rose by 18.4 per cent to US$12.3 billion. That works out to US$8.93 per share of profit.

Of course not all of the nearly 400,000 employees of this globally-integrated organization with a high performance culture are on mobility. My estimate is half are on it.

Employees welcome it, in fact I heard a colleague mentioning that if not for this program she would have to quit working. The flexibility allows her to keep her job.

The program was first implemented in our US offices in the early 90s and implemented worldwide in 1998.

With target setting for each employee and periodic reviews of performance, this program cannot fail.

There are some features unique to having a mobile workforce.

For example, because this program is based on trust, no superior is allowed to phone up his subordinates and ask “Where are you?”

We can work anywhere – even at Starbucks.

But the best thing about this program is that I can even do my teleconferences in my underwear!

In fact, someone by the name of Cynthia Froggatt has even written a book on the virtual workplace entitled Work Naked.

This entry was posted in Places in the Heart. Bookmark the permalink.