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This year I’ve had to fire three people. It was the same thing in each case. Recently an article came out from one of the larger companies. I think it was IBM. They gave all these “work from home” employees the option of coming back in the office or quitting. If you need a job, that’s not a hard decision.
I’ve had similar problems. Here’s the thing. Everyone doesn’t have the personal discipline to work from home. It’s just a fact. Everyone can’t do that.
I think working at home has gotten a lot of buzz. People wondered what would happen with all the office space if the “work from home” trend continued growing. I even wondered if there would continue to be a need for office space. I was thinking like that. I drank the Kool-Aid.
The reality is people need structure. For many people, that means working in an office. It just makes a difference.
The first person I fired was a big surprise, because she started off really well. Then it got hanky due to an issue with pay. A long time ago when I had a job, when your started a new job, you assumed you had a week in the hole before you would get paid. I got pushback on that here and people wanted advances. Like I said, her performance was good. I knew that if I started giving advances it would bite me in the ass. I swore I’d never do it again.
We had a conversation and I thought we were straight. She had a project to do and I was just checking in because it was related to metrics. I noticed that in three days, nothing changed. I asked her, “What’s going on?” She said she was sick. Then some other stuff went down and the situation totally degenerated. I just fired her. Then I had two more employees do similar stuff.
I had an assistant who said she’s reached out to her and had not heard from her all day. This was at 8pm. No work was produced. They weren’t communicating. Then one of them had the audacity to say she had family coming in so she wasn’t working, but she wanted to be paid for those hours. I was just blown away, so I fired her. I didn’t pay either one of them for that week because they didn’t work.
That set the stage for me to get an office. Now I have two offices. A lot of work we’re doing is going to be project based, so there will be so many things going on at the same time.
Today I was in the office because I was delivering some furniture. One of the employees said they liked working in the office because that way they could bounce ideas off of each other. It is much easier to have those exchanges in person. It is much easier to do that in person rather than over email or the phone.
I know many people disagree and say everyone can work from home. No. That’s some bullshit.
I didn’t lose a client, but the shit looked bad because I was managing it. I said, “Hey that’s on me. I made a mistake.”
I don’t think some employees realize that when they’re fucking up, it impacts the whole company. It’s not just them fucking up. They’re fucking up a lot of stuff. It was really, really bad.
One thing I learned a long time ago is if you’ve got a problem and you need to fire someone, do it quickly. Don’t mull it over. For me, work was not getting done. Then people were lying and just throwing in erroneous timesheets. At that point, you’re committing theft. That’s an easy decision to make. It’s wild how many people are looking to get paid and make a lot of money when they’re not working.
I went ahead and I created a process. When you’re deficient and you’ve got some issues going on, that’s a structural problem. I’ve got a friend that’s a recruiter and my assistant who now do the front-end interviews. They do the weeding out and all this other stuff.
If both of them agree that the person is good, then they get hired. That’s worked out beautifully. I’ve hired people before, but it’s been ten years since I’ve had to hire anybody. It’s been a long time.
Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is way different than hiring someone here in America. I think VAs can be extremely valuable, but once again, my business model has changed drastically.
I’m doing really big projects, long-term projects. One project is probably going to be three to four years long and it has so many moving parts that this is not something I can turn over to a VA. Even a team of VAs would not work.
I need people who are here that I can talk to. I made a lot of investments in the office. It’s really cool.
If you want to work from home, there are many businesses where you can do that. Going forward, I just decided that if you want to work from home you’re going to have to do some killer work. I’m also going to look at family structure before I approve “work at home” arrangements.
If you’re a superstar and performing like a Ninja, okay; you may get to work from home at some point. I haven’t really decided because in the last few weeks, so much has gotten done in the office. We’re going to keep doing this.
Working from home sounds really good. I’ve done it for a long time, since 2009. At the time, it was just me. It was creative work, doing videos or writing. I didn’t need a lot of space. I didn’t need employees. I have a lot of personal discipline when I work from home. Everyone doesn’t have that.
The possibility for freelancers and people working from home is there. The fact is that not everyone has the skill sets necessary to make that viable. So, it’s going to be very interesting.
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