WFH – In Defense of Deliverables

Several years ago BroadPeak started an experiment. We dis-assembled the concept of a workday. No set hours. No set vacation. No requirement to work in the office. We simply focus on deliverables and only deliverables.

Today’s pandemic is a sad twist on our work from home efforts.  It’s testing everyone’s resilience.  There have been a lot of these posts over the past few days.  Here’s our take:
We have always found WFH is an important part of life balance.   Sometimes you just need a quiet “head’s down” day. Sometimes you just need to work with a cat in your lap. Sometimes being able to pick up your kid at 3:30pm on a Tuesday will decrease anxiety enough to trigger a moment of brilliance.

Rule 1: Focus on deliverables.

This is the only rule that matters. Just deliver. Where and how you deliver is IRRELEVANT.  This can be incredibly liberating when done right. If you’ve done a little Agile then you know about standing meetings.  Do the same for yourself and your team members. Keep them no longer than 30 or 40 minutes. What’s each person going to deliver this week? This day? This hour? The details are up to you. No team? No problem. If you are sitting at home right now by yourself, draw a line in the sand. This is what you are going to deliver this hour, this day, this week.

Rule 2: Communicate.

You MUST have a chat app. Slack, GChat, or MSTeams. The order is according to how good we think they are (and no we don’t think any other should be on the list). At the end of the day, your company MUST have one of these to maintain good performance when people are working remotely or just in different offices. When we hear about companies that don’t use one of these tools, it’s unbelievable. (P.S. if you find yourself in non-COVID-19 times inundated by pointless, team meetings, you are using your chat app wrong. They prevent meetings when used correctly.)

Rule 3: Tell people how to get a hold of you.

If you are not available then who is covering for you? The most important thing about this rule is actually what should not be said: DO NOT say WHY you are working from home. “I have a dentist appointment.” “My kid is sick.” “I have a migraine.” I know. I know. The urge is real, but think about this: If you are in deliverables mode, why you are WFH is totally IRRELEVANT. When our performance is being judged only by our delivery, saying you had a doctor appointment when you actually were at a mid-day yoga is workplace theater that benefits absolutely no one.

Stay safe everyone! Remember, Shakespeare cranked out King Lear, Anthony & Cleopatra, and Macbeth while quarantined.

Here’s your chance.