Shine at Work: Guidelines IV (13-20)

Shine at Work: Guidelines III (7-12)

 … continue

  1. Be valuable

Being valuable means taking initiatives to do what is beyond the call of duty. It means being an excellent team player, positive, dependable, reliable, and doing what needs to be done on time. It is true that no one is indispensable in this world. But you should strive to make yourself valuable in the team you work in. To gain promotion and to shine at work, make “be valuable” be a silent part of your career goals. It means that it may not be a written goal, but you need to keep it in mind every time.

You need to do the activities and tasks in such a way that you make yourself valuable. You can make yourself valuable by striving to be a key competitive advantage to your team. When you take this career promotion advice to heart you increase your chances to gain promotion.

  1. Be reliable

Being reliable means to be able to dependent upon for getting the work done, support, or help. You can become a reliable employee by changing attitudes and aligning your needs and aspirations with that of the organization.

    • If you cannot come in for work or will be late than usual, call in or send an email or text message well ahead of time.
    • Ensure to do your job with minimal error.
    • Have impeccable work habits. This means being on time to work and working to your potential without compromising on quality.
    • Ensure to complete work on time—with the required quality.
    • Be willing to pay attention, follow directions and do the job.
    • Take responsibility for what you do. This includes being accountable for any mistakes you make.
  1. Communicate proactively

We all know that communication skills form a very important part of a successful career profile. Why only in career, communication is very important in any relationship that is formed—personal and/or professional. Knowledge, expertise, and opinions are only a part of the career-centric process. Communication in any form must be simple and straightforward.

    • Communicate your problems and issues to the person you report to.
    • Communicate the project status and information with your colleagues who are involved in the same project.
    • Do not withhold information. It will not make you important. On the contrary, it will have a negative impact on the project.
    • Articulate your thoughts clearly whether it’s in person, on the phone or through email.
    • Reply to emails on time; be courteous and polite in your communication.

Be honest about your progress at work. If you are struggling with an assignment or about to miss a deadline, let your manager or team leader know about it. Keep them in the loop, instead of leaving them to know about it a later stage. Make sure you manage expectations and stay honest about your progress. This is also about communication.

10. Show enthusiasm

Be enthusiastic at work. Do every task with equal passion and enthusiasm. When you put enthusiasm into every task, work becomes easier and lighter. You begin to enjoy it too. This will help you complete the tasks with more accuracy and speed.

You may not be aware of it, but enthusiasm is contagious. It doesn’t just fuel you alone—the feeling of passion in you gets easily transferred to fellow teammates. It then fuels them to work harder for that common goal. When you work with enthusiasm, you naturally shine at work.

  1. Be flexible and adaptable

These days, technologies change very frequently. The workplace is dynamic and change of any form is inevitable.

    • Projects change—projects plans are made and then scrapped, and new ones are suggested.
    • Keep up with the changing technology and the changing times. Better, keep learning and stay ahead of it.
    • The HR policies can change. Change your mindset with it. If you don’t like it, change the company.

Be aware that you can’t control everything. Be ready and willing to compromise and embrace change. It is also good to be prepared for the unexpected.

12. Take initiative

Do not have a laid-back attitude (especially when you are new to the company). Look for challenges and learn to meet them.

    • Take initiative, come up with newer ideas, new processes.
    • Pick challenging situations and handle them successfully.
    • Do all the activities the right way and put in your efforts in the right direction.
    • Take initiative to understand to what activities you can contribute to. Just make sure that nobody else is doing it and that you are not stepping on someone else’s toes.
    • Learn a skill that will help you stand out. For example, become the person everyone goes to when they need something to proofread or when they need help with a computer program.

Shine at Work: Guidelines 1

Instant gratification may be the buzzword, but it is not going to help you at your workplace.  You may be fresh out of college or a working professional with a number of years of experience, whatever the case is, you will have to prove yourself in an organization. Those with experience may have some idea what to do to shine at the workplace and make your presence felt.

Let the management feel that they have made the right choice by selecting you. They are happy, you are happy and all are happy. All is well if it ends well, isn’t it? But how does this happen? You need to follow some guidelines to shine at work.

For those who don’t know, here are some pointers:

  1. Get a feel of the big picture
  2. Understand the business
  3. Be positive
  4. Create your own identity
  5. Have the right attitude
  6. Be a team player
  7. Be valuable
  8. Be reliable
  9. Communicate proactively
  10. Show enthusiasm
  11. Be flexible and adaptable
  12. Take initiative
  13. Work hard
  14. Get out of your comfort zone
  15. Do not be a politician
  16. Avoid stress
  17. Do not complain or criticize unnecessarily
  18. Serious
  19. Be courteous
  20. Use the right words

Shine at Work: An Introduction

You may be fresh out of college or working (with a number of years of experience). Chances are you have attended many interviews and have landed with a (new) job. Isn’t it a joy of relief? Sure it is, but it is also the start of another struggle; the struggle for establishing yourself in the organization. If you have prior experience, your reputation in the previous organization will not help you establish in the new place. You have to make your efforts almost right from scratch.

Shining at work and making yourself visible to the people that matter (read management) is not a difficult job. It just depends on how you go ahead doing things at work. Remember, there are three type of employees:

  1. These who SHOW they are busy: Most of the employees go to work each day and do only the minimum required to get by. They make a big noise even if they have to put in some extra effort to complete their work. Having managed teams for more than a decade, I have often heard people say “I have loads of work to do, I think I have to skip my lunch today.

In some cases it is true and I often try to provide a helping hand if it is a continuous situation. But most of the time, people barely have work in hand and make these statements to just get the attention and show their co-workers how busy they are when they really are not.  This behavior would annoy any manager.

  1. These who ARE busy: There are some employees who work really hard at their jobs. They work hard and do just what they are asked to do. Things end there. They don’t go beyond their job requirements.

This makes them good employees who you can trust to complete their work on time.

  1. Those who keep themselves busy: There are a handful of employees who gladly do whatever is asked of them and then check if there is something else they can do over and beyond the call of duty. Sometimes they do it even without being asked. They go BEYOND their role!

Which category do you fall into? Dong well at work is not just more getting the job done. It is also about building and keeping a solid reputation and positive relationships in the workplace. Performing well at work will make you feel satisfied and fulfilled. Your manager and peers will appreciate your efforts. Doing well at work also means investing in your future. It opens the door(s) to promotions and advancement in career.

When you establish yourself in the organization, you should etch a place of your own for yourself. At work, you should be noticed for all the right reasons. The most effective way to do this is to show your employer that hiring you was a great decision.

As of the freshers you might be worried about what the others think of you, if someone else will be better than you, or how you can do better than someone else. What you fail to understand is that initially, you have to concentrate on their assigned projects and do good and quality work. Every individual has their own identity and their own place in an organization. No one can replace you or take your place and similarly, you cannot replace anyone. So instead of thinking of taking someone else’s place, concentrate on making your own place.

Working from Home: Guidelines for the employees

As an employee, you should realize that if a facility is given especially to you, there will also be a specific set of expectation and a different set of rules (for some matters) for you. Apart from that, you will also have to set up an appropriate workspace that is separate and distinct from your home space and conducive to working effectively without interruptions. To be efficient, productive, and professional, you will have to be disciplined.

Here are some guidelines that will help you effectively work from home.

Do the groundwork

  1. Meet with your manager to determine how your work and job requirements can be done remotely from your home either full time or certain days of the week (depending on the work arrangement you are looking at).
  2. Consider the effect of working at home on your co-workers and manager.
  3. Determine the technological needs and secure the tools required for work.
  4.  Take appropriate training to ensure productivity and uninterrupted work.
  5.  Establish measurable performance goals and expectations. Since you have been given a certain facility, the expectations will be more. Chances are that performance criterion may be a little stringent and stricter.
  6. Take into consideration potential challenges and concerns of working from home and ways to address these issues.
  7. Check in frequently with your manager and co-workers to discuss how things are going and determine how to overcome challenges that may be identified.

Ensure to have a proper setup

  1. Ensure to have a high-speed internet connection so that you can work uninterrupted.
  2. Ensure to request for and/or install all the software required for you so that you can work seamlessly from home.
  3. Create a healthy workspace—good light, comfortable temperature, ergonomic adjustable chair, computer keyboard and mouse suited to your needs, telephone headset, etc.
  4. Design your workspace for efficiency, with all the documents and materials you need.
  5. Your space. Try to create a little space in your home that will be your “office” or workplace.

Ensure proper communication

  1. Proactive communication: Communicate regularly with your manager and co-workers to stay connected and resolve issues as they come up.
  2. Take appointment: If you want to have a long duration telephonic meeting with someone, take a prior appointment or check when the person will be free.
  3. Check emails frequently: Check your e-mails frequently so that you don’t miss out on any communication.
  4. Respond on time: Respond to e-mails on time. If you don’t have the information handy, reply and say so.
  5. Be polite: Exercise courtesy and be polite when communicating via emails.
  6. Be online: Ensure to be online during the working hours to be connected to the team and office. The idea is that you should be reachable via email, communicator, instant messenger, etc.

Be accessible and responsive

  1. Let the entire team know your general working hours (about 8-9 hours). Although working from home offers some flexibility in the hours you work, establishing working hours will be helpful to you, team members, family, and friends. Team members will know when they can reach you and friends will know when not to.  This is very important if you are working from home on a regular basis.
  2. Share your mobile and landline number with your team and ensure have their numbers as well (at least the people you closely work with).
  3. Update your e-mail, voice mail greeting, staff calendar, etc. regularly with your schedule, availability and contact information.
  4. Utilize appropriate communication methods to stay connected with your manager, co-workers, and other team members.

When you are away

  1. If you will be away during your general working hours (say for more than half an hour), send an email to your team members, team leader, and manager mentioning the duration you will be offline for the specific duration.
  2. Inform the teams: If you plan to be on leave or on vacation, inform the teams you work close with and anybody else you work/communicate with.
  3. Set vacation mail: If you are away on vacation for more than 2 days, set the vacation mail.
  4. Mark Leave:  If you have not been able to work for enough hours a day, for whatever reasons, mark it as a leave. If you have no internet connectivity, VPN not working, your laptop not functioning, etc. are also reasons for marking a leave if you are working from home.

Make your presence felt

  1. Attend meetings: Attend the team and other meetings to make your presence felt. They are informative discussions—usually about the new tools, processes, guidelines, new approaches, etc.
  2. Visit the office: Whenever required (meetings, seminars, team lunches, conferences, official visits from headquarters, etc.) visit the office.
  3. Visibility: Ensure that your accomplishments, project status, outcomes, and deliverables are visible to your manager and co-workers. Avoid being out of sight, out of mind.
  4. Talk to someone from the office at least once a week. Long silences make your absence felt and you will not be considered as a “team member”.

Be reliable

  1. Demonstrate trustworthiness by being predictable and reliable.
  2. Take promises seriously and following through on commitments.
  3. Take initiative and time to learn new skills, processes, and/or tools. Ask questions and pointers for information.
  4. You can work remotely only if you have some important deadline to deal with. Work it out with your manager.
  5. If you don’t have enough work to keep you occupied, inform your manager.

Be professional

  1. Clear priority: Be clear about your priorities. Focus on the expectations, responsibilities, and tasks you and your manager agreed upon as measures of success.
  2. Take feedback: You need to know about how your virtual work arrangement is affecting your co-workers and manager. Discuss about it with you manager.
  3. Stop the arrangement: If there any concerns especially from the co-workers, it stands understood that you need to stop the arrangement. Arguing with the manager is futile—remember time and again that work from home is a privilege, not your right. It will only show of your negative attitude.
  4. Be disciplined: To be efficient, productive, and professional, you will have to be disciplined.

Establish ground rules at home

  1. Set a routine/timetable. Make sure you keep a fixed time or routine for work as you have when you go to the office for work.
  2. Predetermine breaks: The breaks you will take should also be predetermined. This way you will be more disciplined towards your work. Establish ground rules for work hours, interruptions, noise, etc.
  3. Set boundaries at home. It is very important to develop a healthy separation between your work day and your home life. Let friends and family know that you are working from home and set clear boundaries on calling or dropping in. Be off-limits to children, friends, and relatives during work hours.
  4. Regulate your off time and holidays. Working from home gives the relatives a feeling that you can take time off work whenever you wish. So they may plan a vacation or to visit you anytime.
  5. WFH is no substitute: Do not use working from home as a substitute for childcare or to take care of older relatives (parents, in-laws, etc.).
  6. Set boundaries with your family members:  Last but not the least, let your family and friends know that although you are home, you are working, as any professional would. Tell them that you are off limits for them during those work hours.

Working From Home: Guidelines for Managers

You as managers and supervisors should consider certain guidelines when you review the work from home arrangement for a particular position or employee. Work from home arrangement should be customized based on the need for the department and the employee’s need for flexibility.

If this is not a universal policy, it is important to carefully consider the situation on a case to case basis.  You as a manager have to consider the interdependence of tasks within a department and with other departments.

About Job/Department:

Employees working as front desk executives, administration personnel, human resource executives, etc. cannot work from home as their work, unfortunately, does not allow that type of flexibility. However good they are at work, the nature of their work is such that they have to be physically present at the office.

In the other departments also, work from home can be allowed only after considering many factors like the type of the project, its complexity, the schedule pressure, and other project-related and person-related factors. Some of them are:

  • Does the work profile allow the person to work from home?
  • Is the job well suited for such an arrangement?
  • Does this arrangement serve the customers?
  • Is there interdependence of tasks with other teams? If yes, will work be delayed or affected?
  • How does this arrangement affect the interaction with co-workers and other employees?
  • Do you have to budget money for the additional equipment and work-at-home costs?
  • Will the employee working at home be easily accessible?

About the Employee:

You will also have to take into consideration some factors before allowing the employee to avail the work from home facility, even for a short duration depending. The manager has to check if the employee is:

  • Self-motivated and result-oriented?
  • Self-disciplined?
  • Comfortable setting priorities and deadlines?
  • Able to work independently with minimal supervision?
  • Familiar with the organization’s procedures?
  • An effective communicator who takes initiative?
  • Adaptable to change?
  • Have strong time management and organizational skills?

Employees using the work from home facility must essentially be someone who can manage their personal productivity levels. As a manager, you should set clear and measurable objectives and judge the employee’s performance based on the results.

Working from Home: Disadvantages

While working from home seems like a dream come true, there are some disadvantages associated with it. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Lack of communication: The most obvious disadvantage of working from home is the lack of personal interaction and direct communication you would usually have while you are in the office.

You don’t have the luxury of just standing up and asking a question to your coworker over the wall of your cubicle or walking down the hallway to the accounts department for help in filing the I.T returns.

  1. Distraction: One of the next biggest disadvantages of working from home is that you get distracted. Well, it is true that one of the advantages of working from home is avoiding distraction at work, but different distractions arise at home front too.
    • When family members (children, spouse, and/or parents) are at home, you may get distracted which can make working difficult. You may want to spend some time with them.
    • Interruptions from children, housework, neighbors, friends, and family may distract you.
    • If you have children, they will want to talk to you and play with you when they get back from school.

You need to make special efforts to make it clear that you are working despite being at home and that you are unavailable for interruption and socialization within your working hours. You also need to tell the kids not to disturb you while you work. Hence, a separate office area or a table helps. It will pass on the message to the kids that it is work time.

  1. Bringing in work into home Life: Most of the time, when I work home even for a day, I find myself working more hours. It is probably the thought that I am getting avail the work from home facility and privilege makes me put in longer hours. To add to my woes, I also love my work!

The lack of physical separation between home and work may add to the pressure to work endlessly. It may be compounded by the fact that you feel there are greater expectations made of you or by self-imposed pressures to prove yourself and your abilities.

To avoid this situation, you need to set your working hours, probably the work hours you would follow if you work from the office, say 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Since there is no-one looking over your shoulder enforcing strict hours you may feel tempted to work endlessly.

  1. Bringing in home activities into work: Sometimes, the temptation to engage in household matters since you are at home is very strong. You may want to take spare an hour or two to clean the home, go shopping, do the cooking, do some preparation for an upcoming festival, or socialize with friends. You may feel that since you will put in extra hours later in the day or over the weekend, it is okay to indulge in these activities.

This struggle usually happens to those who are not mature in nature. It is essential to draw the line between home and work activities. If possible, set up a room just for your office that you only use for work. Working out of a living room or your bedroom will only make separating work life from home life more difficult.

  1. Isolation: Often, people working from home complain of isolation and loneliness, especially if they have worked in the office environment for a long time. I know of many married women who like going to work because they a get a break from their household responsibilities, get to mingle with people for a while, and can get away from their mothers-in-laws for a while. Though many enjoy the idea of working from home, to some, this can be very depressing.

People working from home may feel alienated from company developments. In many organizations, things change overnight. You may find yourself removed from important developments such as staff changes, changes in company direction, promotions, etc. Often an arrangement where you report into the office at least twice a week is a good as it allows for interaction with colleagues and supervisors. It also ensures that you remain in touch with happenings and developments of the company while still working from the comfort of your home.

  1. Perceptions: Many people don’t take work from home seriously. If you work from home, friends feel that they can drop in any time in or send their kids for babysitting simply because you are at home.

Friends and relatives feel that they can call you any time of the day for a long chat since you are not at the office. After a while, you yourself start feeling that there is nothing wrong in doing these, after all, you have all the flexibility you want. Wrong!

  1. Procrastination: It is easier to procrastinate while working from home since all it takes is to switch on the TV to start watching a cricket match, and sit there engrossed in the match.

It is very easy to get distracted by anything. Also, the idea of being at home can make you feel lazy and therefore cause you to procrastinate.

  1. Miss promotion: The danger of being overlooked for promotions and career development opportunities can happen when you are away from the office for a very long duration. So, you need to put in an effort to prevent the out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome.

You need to have an open line of communication with management and co-workers. It is also important to make regular visits to the office to prove your dedication and commitment to your career.

  1. Need for self-discipline: Working from home is not for anyone. It takes a lot of dedication, self-control, and discipline to motivate yourself to work efficiently and effectively without getting distracted.

You should also ensure not to do home/personal activities at work hours. Even if you do, inform the manager and co-workers about it.

  1. Resentment: Last but not the least, you must be aware that many co-workers may be jealous of your good luck You may relax in your home office and do your work, but some co-workers may harbor resentment that they must be in the office while you are relaxing at the comfort of your home.

 

Working from Home: Advantages

Working from home presents numerous benefits as well as some significant challenges. Success in working from home ultimately depends on the person’s drive for success, personality type, and willingness to accept a higher degree of risk.

  1. A sigh of relief: Most of the office goers, especially the women have a tough time in the morning planning for the day—making breakfast, packing lunch for kids/husband/self, and planning for the day.  So the realization that when they rise up in the morning, they no longer have to put in all the effort to rush for office on time and face that daily commute to and fro office has a soothing effect. Not only the omen, but the men also can breathe a deep sigh of relief.

No rush to complete work in an hour or two, no honking horns, no traffic to face, no road rage to contend with. Instead, you can have your cup of tea/coffee in comfort. It’s a great feeling!

  1. Better work/life balance: Most of the professionals these days have ample money and stress, but no time for rest or for the family. Gone are the days when fathers (and working mothers too) leave for work at about 8 in the morning and come back home at about 5 or 5.30 in the evening, and spent the rest of the evening with their families.

Work/life balance is a thing of the past. Even when they get back home, they are surrounded by numerous meetings and deadlines they have to attend to. So, work/life balance is an aspiration of the modern professional. It can be achieved through a working from home arrangement. The   time saved in commuting, social discussion with team members, extended lunch/coffee hours, etc, enables them to spend quality time with family, do physical exercise, read books, listen to music, or follow a hobby of your choice.

  1. Flexibility: This doesn’t just relate to the flexibility of the work timings, because the factor that determines the work hours(to some extent) is the time overlap employees have with their the working hours of their team members.

Here, we are talking about the flexibility in terms of the work environment, the interiors, lighting, room temperature, setting, mood, etc.

4.    Avoid hidden cost: One of the greatest advantages of working from home is cost efficiency. By working at home people save on many hidden costs associated with working folk (especially working couples). If they are good at focusing and multitasking, they can balance child care and supervision with the demands of the job, thus saving on added cost.

Added cost saving include costs of commuting, vehicle servicing (due to wear and tear), fuel costs. There are other indirect costs such as professional wardrobe (if they have to wear formal to work), dry-cleaning costs, daycare for smaller kids, activity class after school for older kids, their transport arrangement, etc.

  1. Save time: If the office is just 20-30 minutes drive from home, they will still have put in the time getting things ready for their family and themselves and then travel to work. Working from home means saving the time lost on road in traveling and waiting at traffic signals.

It also saves time that gets wasted in meeting and talking with co-workers, elaborate lunch and coffee breaks, and other possible distraction. When they are done with their work for the day,  they can back to their loving families in an instant.

  1. Proximity to home and family: For many professionals, the physical proximity to family and the convenience of being at home is comforting and makes them stress-free. For those with kids, it can be pacifying and comforting to know that they are and available to their children if there is an emergency.

Also, the thought of not sending the children to daycare is very comforting and stress free. This thought also applies in case there are elderly people are at home.

  1. Less stress: Commuting in traffic during rush hour causes stress and lead to disgruntled employees. They get exhausted and worn even before they begin their day at work. This is especially true where the workplace is far from office.

Other stresses factors can include unfriendly co-workers, work environment, constant distractions, work pressures, and other tensions.  Thus stress is extremely counterproductive.

  1. Fewer distractions: There are a lot of distractions in the office. Some of them are:
    • Gossip and chatter with coworkers.
    • Helping out a co-worker.
    • Longer breakfast, lunch, tea/coffee hours.
    • AC not working.
    • AC at full blast.
    • Disturbance because of people around talking loudly.

Fewer distractions, means less stress, meaning, more focus and better work.

  1. More productive: Working from home reduces distractions at workplace, stress (at work and while traveling), and time that goes in preparation and travel.

It also provides flexibility to work independently in their preferred environment at their own pace. Fewer distractions mean better productivity.

  1. Miss office politics: Office politics is a fact of work life in any organization. Whether you hate it, admire it, practice it, or avoid it, you just cannot ignore it—it will poke its head every now and then. Like it or not, all employers need to understand that it exists in some form or the others, understand it, and as far as possible try to avoid it.

Not being physically present at work, helps them to be away from office politics—I doubt if anyone will miss it, especially negative politics!

  1. Better health: These days, most of the metros or cities have a severe traffic jam. Long commutes of 1 to 3 hours or more a day spent only on getting to and from the workplace is tiring not only physically, but emotionally as well. Apart from long sitting hours at work and the travel also causes back related problems. The smoke and stress associated with travel also adversely impacts health.

A survey summarized in the Microsoft whitepaper, Work without Walls, indicates the top 10 benefits of working from home from the employee viewpoint.

  1. Work/home balance (60%)
  2. Save gas (55%)
  3. Avoid traffic (47%)
  4. More productive (45%)
  5. Fewer distractions (44%)
  6. Eliminate long commute (44%)
  7. Quieter atmosphere (43%)
  8. Less stressful environment (38%)
  9. More time with family (29%)
  10. Environmentally friendly (23%)

Working from Home: An Introduction

Working from home is a common approach in the most of the countries in Europe and in the West. In India, some companies allow people to work from home on a need basis. But this is not a very common scenario. One of the main reasons is that the facility and privilege is very often misused.

In many multinational companies, the work from home (WFH) option is a discretionary facility being offered to employees. It is a privilege, which is flexible according to the requirement; not a right and can be revoked at any time. An employee should understand that this is not an entitlement.  The decision if a person can work from home is usually left to the discretion of the manager. The employee is permitted to work from home after discussing the problem and having taken permission from the manager.

Most of the time, as long as the work gets done, the managers allow the team members to use the WFH privilege. It becomes an issue when an employee starts demanding the WFH privilege as a facility provided by the organization or when most of the team members have problems with the WFH privilege given to one or more team members.

Most of the time working from the homework from home arrangement depends on the following factors:

  • The work
  • The requirement
  • The supervisor/manager
  • The employee

The Work

The work profile primarily decides if the person can work from home. Employees working as front desk executives or in the support teams who receive customer calls, administration, personal, human resources, etc. cannot work from home as their work does not allow that type of flexibility. They need to be physically present at the office.

In other departments also, work from home can be allowed only after considering many factors like the type of the project, its complexity, the schedule pressure, and many other projects and person-related factors.

The Requirement

The decision of whether an employee can work from home also depends on the need of the hour. Most importantly, the requirement of the project and the department, also considering the requirement of the employee.

Example: Jackson is responsible for implementing a new feature/functionality. He fractured his leg and is advised rest for 2 months. He is not in a position to travel to work for 2 months. Jackson had created the proposal for this functionality, got it approved, and has been working on it for a while. Unfortunately, the other members of the team are not skilled and do not have enough knowledge to handle this activity in his absence.

It is very important for the project, and after a lot of deliberation, the management decided to give Jackson the support required to do this work from home. This facility is mutually beneficial, as the company is able to get the work done on time, without any delays or problems and Jackson does not have to take leave as he can work from home and complete the project that he had nourished and nurtured.

The Supervisor

If the need arises, the supervisor or the manager might allow the employees to work from home so that work is completed on time. They might give the employee all the support in terms of the software, ability to connect to office from home, etc.

Example: Mary, working as a team leader in an organization was in a fix. Her son was sick and doctor recommended that he take complete rest for a week. Being a nuclear family, there is no one else to take care of the little boy. Since a couple of projects were near completion, there was a lot of work, and Mary was not a position to take leave. Apart from other things, she also had to review the work done by the team members, create status reports, and send them to the remote managers on a daily basis.

After considering Mary’s situation, and since Mary’s work is not depended on anyone else, she was allowed to work from home. Mary was not required to be physically present in the office to complete her work and the senior management knew about her professional approach towards work. This way, the work could be completed and she could also take care of her son.

The Employee

The employees will be allowed to avail the work from home facility depending on the following factors:

    • The need of the hour.
    • The attitude of the employee.
    • The skills and experience of the employee.
    • Productivity and performance.
    • The faith the manager has on the employee.
    • Supervision required to oversee their work.

Example: Rakesh requires a lot of help and supervision at work. The quality of work is not up to the mark and so someone has to review his work. He is not productive—spends a lot of time in coffee breaks, talking on the phone, or chatting with friends. He needs to be constantly reminded about the deadline.

 The team leader has to check his progress on a daily basis. The management will not feel comfortable allowing such an employee work from home because they are sure that work will not be completed on time. In an effort to complete it on time, the other team members will have to put in extra effort and time in communicating with him, keeping a tab of what is being done, and getting the work reviewed.

It is a lot more easier for somebody else to take over the work and complete it.

It is up to the employees to use the WFH privilege with care, discretion, and professionally so that the privilege is not revoked.

Career Myths: Part 4 (16-20)

Myth 16: IT Is an Ideal Field

We all are different individuals with different tastes, perspectives, values, personalities, and ideas. So, we perceive things differently—what may be fun to you may be boring to me. Many come into IT industry because of the stimulating opportunities and monitory rewards. Considering the different kinds of opportunities in the IT field, there is certainly

room for everyone with some interest or the other. Some areas will obviously appear more challenging and exciting to you than others. This again reinforces the view that knowing what the job entails is key to making wise career moves. What makes IT interesting to different people may be one or more of the following reasons:

  • It pays well.
  • It provides an opportunity to visit many countries without spending money yourself.
  • Make a niche for yourself in a short time.
  • Allow you to work on the cutting edge technology with the latest products and programs.
  • For individuals who are fascinated by certain technologies and like being a part of the organization, spending the whole day in front of a computer and working with such intellectual technology, isn’t work but play.
  • Constant change and the unpredictability of IT is major attraction. People with this frame of mind see life-long learning as life long excitement.

But are the first three reasons compelling enough to take up a career in IT? A career in the IT field gives you various opportunities, but it also brings in a lot of stress and pressure in your life. Now-a-days we hear about young IT professionals committing suicide because they are not able to perform well at work or because of stress at work. Is it worthwhile? You work to live, not live to work. So, why take away your life for work?

Myth 17: Change Jobs Often to Increase Your Value

Gone are the days when people entered an organization and took pride in retiring from there after 30-35 years of service. Now, it is the era of job-hoppers, those who hop, skip, and jump from one job to another. It is common to find candidates who had multiple jobs with short stays one year or even less.

Ever since the invasion of multinational companies started in India, employees feel that there is no logical progression within any one company anymore. To get ahead in the rat race, gain newer skill sets, and get a better compensation, people often make multiple moves in jobs or careers.

The million dollar question is, does it help increase your worth and/or value? No! It does not. Try to avoid short stints under 3 years. The reason is, by the time you settle yourself, get the required skills, and make a name for yourself, you decide to move on. So, you do not add much value to the team and to the organization. With down-sizing in the parent companies, increasing costs in India, the parent companies are more concerned about aittration. They have begin to wonder if it is really worth hiring candidates in India to spend time and money on their training, only to be geared to recruit a replacement.

Myth 18: Women Cannot Balance Career and Family

Wrong! Women can find time for both a great career and maintain a happy family. Balancing a career and a family is difficult and is a never-ending process, but it is not impossible. Women can carve out more family time by balancing time, being organized, and streamlining the household tasks. In short, planning and organizing helps.

Prioritization, organization, and delegation are key to achieving the balance that allows a woman to enjoy a rich family life while also gaining fulfillment from her career.

—Laura Betterly, CEO of In Touch Media Group, Inc.

    • As far as the women balance both perfectly, people at work and at home are happy, with her respective roles. Problem arises when
    • Women decide to run away from the household duties because they feel they are a class apart by being working women.
    • The husbands refuse to help and support them stating that house hold work is not for the men—it’s a woman’s job
    • Women find that they are not getting any help and support and try to do lesser activities (specially at home) to make their life easier.
    • They start carrying their problems to work and don’t focus on their roles and responsibilities.

If the husbands want a working wife, they have to lend a helping hand. They have to be considerate of the fact that their wives also have work pressures and work related tensions. Childcare centers, tele-commuting, and flexible work hours help, but most women depend on some creative mechanism for organizing and planning their time that works for them. You just need to know how to do the balancing act. Do not give undue importance to one over the other. In any case a balancing act requires careful planning, setting priorities, time management, and fiexibility.

Myth 19: Accomplishments Speak for Themselves

The saying that your accomplishments speak for themselves and that you will be rewarded accordingly is almost a myth. You need to work hard to accomplish something and stand out from the others. But don’t depend on just your work to speak out your accomplishments. You have to communicate and make sure your boss knows what you have accomplished. They should be aware of the problems you faced and how you overcame them to contribute towards the project and the team. Only then will you be rewarded for your true worth. Else you will be taken for granted.

Self promotion is actually the art of branding and bragging. This is how you stand out from the crowd and keep your accomplishments in your boss’s mind when it comes to raises, promotions, and succession planning, or when your company is trying to decide who stays and who goes during mergers, management shifts, and down-sizing.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re seeking advancement in your current position, ready to change an established career, or just starting out—you have to be ever mindful of cultivating your own personal brand and promoting it. If your boss does not take the effort to motivate your or appreciate your performance in public, you have to speak out and blow your own trumpet. Only take care not to blow it very hard.

Myth 20: It is Difficult to Get a Job If You Are Overage

It is and it is not! When hiring experienced candidates, age is definitely not considered. When hiring someone without relevant experience, age sometimes becomes a selection criteria. The reasons are:

    • After other experience, the expectations of the candidate is much more than a person who is relatively younger and inexperienced. Most of the times, organizations are ready to take in people with no related experience in junior positions and might offer a salary relative to their relevant experience and skills. Those seeking a job may not be able to accept the fact that after being experienced, they are considered to be on the same level as the trainees.

 In such a situation, ask yourself if you possess the skills required for this job? Do you have the relevant experience? Why should the organization pay you for the skills and the experience you don’t possess? This will give you an answer why you are recruited at an entry level.

    •  Most of the time candidates beyond 45-50 years of age find it difficult to get a change in career because they probably lack the skills, education, and experience that the employer seek. If you are looking for employment in an industry or an area that focuses more on youth, then will surely be difficult for you to find a new job.

 You need to be flexible and mature in terms of understanding and accepting your limitations. If you are comfortable working with youngsters, in a junior position, for a lesser salary (probably), and if you are confident of using the skills of your prior working experience to your advantage, age doesn’t really matter. On a personal perspective, age limit is more of a mental state than physical. If you are eager to learn and grow in the team starting from the basics, age is not a constraint. For that matter, age is not a barrier in any field if you are mentally and physically fit for the job/work.