Thursday, June 21, 2007

Architecture at work place

Do you believe the office set up, the architecture does help to bring up a whole new dimension to the way people work and to bring out the best in them? Or are you of the view that it is immaterial and irrespective of where you work from you'll do your job?

Well there has been quite a lot written about this subject and the expert seems to be of the view that there is something extra which the architecture brings to the table in terms of creativity / productivity of people at work.

Topping the list are undoubtably the software companies. The "campus" environments at places like google, microsoft in the states and Wipro and Infosys in India are indeed case study material! (yeah...... you wish you could work at Google where they have signature dishes available in more than 8 different free restaurants!)

Even in Sri Lanka Millennium IT could fall in to the same category. The whole custom built environment is suppose to be built to improve and assis creativity of the software developers. (By the way they too have some real cool stuff such as Gyms, Pools, Cricket Grounds, Roof top terrace, TV rooms, rest rooms and yes also a creche!)

All that is fine for IT guys. What about typical corporate people like us! Who comes to work daily to a "typical" office environment which has some form of universal similarity. When designing offices the architects are "suppose" to put lot of thoughts about various stuff including "human movement, ergonomics etc.

Has this actually helped you? Or does it actually matter?

I would think it will matter! But then again I would not know. Why because I have very much been part and parcel of the typical set up throughout.

In a typical corporate environment is this possible

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Generation Y - A Sri Lankan Experience

Generation Y or popularly known as Gen Y in the west specifically in the US can be confusing as there is no proper definition of who they are. Scholars are equally confused! The periodical Amercian Demographics classify Geny as those who were born 1976 while the famous writers "Howe and Strauss" define hem as class of 2000 or those who were born after 1982. The market research agencies consider 1978 - 2000! So you can get a feeler as to what a relative term this could be anyway.

But widely accept norm on the subject is that Generation Y follows it's more logical Generation X. (Alphabetically, certainly it does). Some defines Generation X as those who were born between 1965 and 1980. Again most are confused in this regard!

Any how the young generation those who were born after 1980 seems to be having their own traits. Even in Sri Lanka they could be considered as a TV generation who were brought up with quite a few TV and radio channels.
At work they don't seems to care much about the norms etc at the work place. Naturally they are out spoken. Seek independence in everything they do. They have least regard for the company that they work. (Meaning in terms of relatively long term employment! Say 3-5 years).
They wiil be easily lured to new offers. Constantly on the look out for new opportunities.
So as managers and companies how do you manage these people?
Well, probably one needs to take a stock of the shoter timeframes these people work on and accordingly have mid term plans for them. Take one year at a time and offer challening tasks for them. Should they find that to be interesting they'll continue. Remember they seek to learn, experience and grow more than anyone else. So create ample opportunities for that!
Also help them see the world in it's entirty. Meaning at times they can be blinded by just one aspect of a opportunity. Then do your bit to explain 'the other side'. But make it very clear to them that you are only giving another opinion. BUT THE DECISION HAS TO BE MADE BY THEM.
One last thing, once they decide to move on, help them as much as possible.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Shave your head!!!!!

I did an interesting thing today. I shaved my head! Yes that's right, just thought I should do it and simply went ahead and did it. My wifee is furious. (She promised she'll refuse go with me any where till I grow my hair back!!!!). My mother thinks I'm totally nuts! (Well I did have few grey hair, but did not shave my head to get rid of it!!!!!!!)
I did another interesting thing. I tok a picture just before I cut my hair. Another one just after. Looking at both must admit I as a person probably look much more presentable with hair.
My point is there are things in life where other people do probably know what's best for you. But you should go ahead with what you want to. Well on numerous occassions before I felt like shaving my head. However various things kept me away from doing it. But today it was different, I just went ahead with what I wanted to do.
Monday morning when I reach my work place I know there'll be people going all "gaga", "what have done", "Oh my god" kind of things. Hey, I just wanted to experience this and I simply did it.
Locus of control has been an interesting subject. Cutting out most of the crap it is all about are you driven by YOU or are you influenced greatly by external factors. Today I was quite confident thatI proved my self that my locus of control is internal.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Do you actually need an office?

I was reading "The Gig" by Nadira A. Hira on where she questions the necessity of an actual office and that made me write my own piece about my Sri Lankan experience.

Well the job that I'm involved is not one of those journalistic or software related thingy where you might be able to work from home. It involves much human contact, certain amount of fire fighting and lot of team interaction.

However I fall in to the category of having a PC at home and a "home ADSL connection". So technically I'm wired compared to most people in my country. With that background here's my take!

There were few days this year where I was either sick or due to some other home affair where I could not make it to the office. On each of those days I did manage to work on many forward looking projects which I simply was not able to perform during my 'regular' office hours. Well here the other difference. I did not spend what ever the time getting my self ready to go to work. I did not spend well over an hour on the road just to commute to my self to work (where I cannot do anything meaningful other than answer the occassional phone call and listen to radio). All in all I managed to clock in 1/12 hours of "quality morning hours" in to good use. And all this while I was wearing my good old "sarong".

While we all are trained corporate 'creatures' use to the office attaire, I sure given a choice in the context of home based work many people would prefer to wear non office clothes. (I'm a firm beleiver of good dress to work and other places)E-mail was the main for of communication between me and my colleagues although I did use IM to a certain extent with people who have it. Made less than 8 phone calls for the entire day and yet managed to complete more than what I usually do.

Because I was at home I could attend to some of the house matters while it made my wife and children very happy to see me around. I certainly had discipline to focus on work!

Well, I guess I'm lucky to have the infrastructure in place to perform the task. I know for most other people it could still be a luxury. However come to think of the cost I think it's feasible. As with anything there is cost benefit and it is up to you to benefit out it.

Must admit though that there had been quite a few occassions where I've been frustrated because the ADSL internet connection has been annoyingly slow!

Even over here I have heard quite a few people saying they either come to work very early or stay till late or come on during a weekend just have do some work without being disturbed. With that sort of thing you tend to wonder what this fuss is all about when you actually can allow employees to work from home may be couple of times a month.

Journey of a thousand miles start with a very small step.