Work Where Others are Working

Are you as productive when working from home? Many people fell they are not, and compensate by working even more hours. The numbers show that the time we save by not having to communte to work have become extra work hours, not extra free time.

If you feel your productivity is dropping when working from home, spend part of your workday working together with someone else. I am not talking about pair programming or collaborative work – in fact, you don’t even need to know the other person. If you take your laptop to a local cafe or co-working space where other people are working, you will work harder. It is exactly the same effect as when people exercise harder in the gym than they do at home. Get out of the house for part of your work-from-home days.

Why Employee Surveillance Doesn’t Work

Do you know what a “mouse jiggler” is? Your most innovative employees do. It is not a device to shake a rodent in a cage. It is a small USB device that sends random mouse movements to a computer.

Who would want such a thing? Employees subjected to tracking software, that’s who. With the mouse moving, the software will record “productivity.” The pandemic led to a boom in surveillance tech, euphemistically called “employee productivity software.” As workers return to the office, that tech is not removed from corporate laptops. But workers are pushing back, in accordance with Newton’s Third Law of IT systems: Whenever the organization implements a policy, the employees will implement an equal and opposite workaround.

Techno-optimists keep trying to replace humans with technology. There are some places where that works. Replacing human leadership with surveillance technology is one of the places where this strategy doesn’t work.

Focus on the Mission

Do you have a hard time finding the IT talent you are looking for? Spare a thought for the recruitment officers at the CIA. With an image that today is more waterboarding than James Bond, their approval rating among millennials is at an all-time low. Even though they have started running video ads, are on Instagram and post jobs on Linked, they have a hard time recruiting the talent they need.

As the CIO, you can’t do much for the general image of your organization in the public eye, but you can make sure you are communicating in a language and on a platform where your prospective employees are. It is hard and expensive to buy the best talent with compensation alone, so you need to explain how working for you will allow IT professionals to make a difference.

That’s why your job ads should have one thing in common with the CIA: Focus on the mission.