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Smashing the Clock

2006-12-07 22:41:06.826769+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

The Changing Workplace: Smashing the Clock (alternate link) is a little article about BestBuy going to a performance rather than time-in-the-office based system:

That's where Achen's performance metrics came in handy. He could measure how many orders per hour his team was processing no matter where they were. He told Thompson he'd reel everyone back to campus the minute he noticed a dip. Within a month, Achen could see that not only was his team's productivity up, but engagement scores, or measuring job satisfaction and retention, were the highest in the dot-com division's history.

This grabs me particularly hard because one of the things we're trying to do with our distributed team is build a "virtual office", as a first pass by just making sure that our chat programs are all on during a specific time, and right now it isn't working right. I don't know how to fix it yet, but maybe that's the wrong thing altogether? I wonder how they facilitate inter-group communication (cue the old story about "giving every department their own coffee pot").

[ related topics: Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-08 00:10:55.598355+00 by: crasch

How is the virtual office not "working right?"

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-08 00:50:08.15024+00 by: Dan Lyke

We don't have as much sharing between people as I think we should, and I think we're less productive because each of us feels like we're working on our own project rather than on a common project.

We need to get together while you're out here and I'll rant and ramble for a while...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-08 06:39:20.024789+00 by: spc476

The company I work for has gone virtual for the most part. The only day we're all in the office at the same time is Friday, otherwise we all work from home. The major problem I'm finding is knowing if someone is “in the office” when I get a phone call (part of my job is tech support) and need to transfer it. The other problem is that we all use different chats (the boss uses ICQ; I don't have ICQ but do have AIM, and the third person has neither) nevermind the fact that we all don't bother to even log in to chat.

Other than that, it's saving me a ton of gas and the commute just can't be beat (maybe 30 seconds if I'm slow).

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-08 16:08:56.876294+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

I'm the only one who works remote most of the time, but we have two tools that make it possible. Before, we were using IM, and we still do when we can't get a VPN connection (e.g. sidekicks), but I think IRC is working much better for us.

So, IRC so everyone can be in a virtual room. You can ignore it most of the time, but if you do that, you need a way to be alerted if someone says your name. FWIW, my IRC client is ERC.

Then we use Trac for planning and dividing up the work. This means I know what needs to be done at any time and I can navigate my own way through that mess.

These two things seem to help work for us. We have face-to-face meetings at the beginning of every milestone, but beyond that and a few phone calls, all discussion is online.