Work From Home Should Be The New Normal

The Post-COVID mindset of “The coast is clear, let’s all come back to the office” has its roots in one of the challenges all Project Managers face: “We’ve always done it that way” syndrome. Not enough employers have challenged this conventional wisdom. The COVID lockdown has shown us there is a better way.

Current economic conditions make it imperative that employees push back against this thinking. Record high gas prices mean asking your employees to essentially take a pay cut to commute to work. Record high real estate prices and rising mortgage rates mean that a promising new hire cannot accept your position because relocating is a prohibitively expensive option. Mandating coming into the office means only drawing from a talent pool that live within a reasonable distance. Hiring good people is the most important function of a successful organization. Why would any forward thinking company live with this limitation?

The corporate culture that includes the unwritten rules “we can’t trust you to work unless we can see you” and “we require you to regularly spend lots of unpaid extra hours here in the office” must transition to “we hire good people and mutually set goals and deliverable deadlines and trust you to do your job well”.

Many now have seen the work-life balance advantages of working from home. Not to mention the obscene amount of wasted hours spent commuting. If your commute is 45 minutes a day (which many Americans think is “reasonable”) that is 1.5 hours round trip or 7.5 hours per week! You are putting in almost an extra day of work each week just commuting. We put up with this only because there wasn’t a better option prior to ubiquitous high speed internet access.

Your employees will become increasingly unhappy with a come into the office mandate and will seek employment that make coming into the office optional. Forward thinking companies will be more than happy to draw the top talent away from those stuck in the past. These are the enterprises that will be most successful in the future.

Labor has unprecedented power now. You should consider using it.

My Kindle book, “Project Management For The Real World” is available at

http://www.amazon.com/dp/b089krddvn

Decision Making Process Part 6 – Summary

In the preceding series of posts, I presented a process I use for making key decisions. Now I will present a brief summary of those posts.

  • We struggle with some decisions because…
    • There are too many choices
    • The apparent choices are all bad
    • The apparent choices seem all equally good
    • Loss Aversion – we fear risking something we have for something we want
    • Fear of being wrong
    • Fear of being criticized
  • Poor decision making process results in…
    • Regret
    • Unintended consequences
  • Good decision making process will…
    • Eliminate decision paralysis
    • Reduce stress
    • Keep you moving forward
    • Eliminate regret
    • Look at decisions as a “portfolio” instead of isolated events
  • The process in 8 steps…
    • Begin with the end in mind – know your desired outcomes and how you will measure success
    • Analyze your alternatives – there may be more than you think!
    • Identify and mitigate risks
    • Distance yourself from short-term emotion
    • Create contingency plans
    • Make the decision
    • Evaluate the outcomes
    • Evaluate the process

Try using the process on your next key decision. Tweak it as needed for your specific circumstances. Leave some comments on this post as to what worked and what didn’t.

My Kindle book, “Project Management For The Real World” is available at

http://www.amazon.com/dp/b089krddvn

Decision Making Process Part 5i – Evaluate The Process

For the eighth and  final step in the decision making process you will evaluate the process itself. You do this in the spirit of continuous process improvement. This will improve your future decision making process and outcomes.

Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your process:

  • For good outcomes:
    • What process steps were the most useful?
    • What could you have done to make the good outcomes even better?
  • For negative outcomes:
    • Did the process fail or was it circumstances beyond your control?
    • Did you skip steps?
    • Were there some steps you did not give sufficient time and energy?
    • Did you anticipate and plan for this negative outcome? If not, what would you have done different?

The next post will be the final post in the Decision Making series and I will summarize and give you some additional thoughts on the topic.

My Kindle book, “Project Management For The Real World”, is available at

http://www.amazon.com/dp/b089krddvn

Decision Making Process Part 5h – Evaluate The Outcomes

At an appropriate point in time after you have made the decision, you should evaluate the outcomes as part of a program of continuous improvement in the decision making process. Here are the steps to take:

  • Revisit the “measures of success” you defined in the first step in the process. In that step, you determined what success would look like and how you would measure success. This is the time to take those measurements.
  • Evaluate the “degree of success” for each measure. Not all of your success criteria will be a binary “yes or no”. Often you will have achieved some measure of success but perhaps not all you targeted. This is a key input to the next step.
  • Determine if additional activity, time or resources will increase your degree of success. This is a key decision point. You don’t want to “throw good money and time after bad” hoping to succeed. You will need to decide if the calculated risk of continuing to invest more in the decision is worth it to you. Employ the same decision making methodology for this as used in the original decision.

In the next post I will present the final step in the 8 step process, where you evaluate the process itself to help you improve your future decisions.

My Kindle book, “Project Management For The Real World” is available at

http://www.amazon.com/dp/b089krddvn