Working At Home Or Virtually – What’s Best?

When Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently ordered employees back to their offices and announced her intention to crackdown on working from home, it was the shot fired ‘round the world.

Why?

Because so many people telecommute and do it so well.  But even ex-employees of Yahoo! came out to defend Mayer who took only two weeks off for her recent maternity leave.

Mayer says you have to physically go to work to collaborate better while telecommuters insist that with all the digital tools that exist, they can communicate just fine from home and save on commuting costs and day care to boot.

Who is right?

When I put the question to Morley Winograd, author of Millennial Momentum about the emerging Generation Y he put it in perspective: 

“The solution that she should be shooting for, but maybe can’t afford, is to make the workplace such a great place to be that people show up on their own rather than telecommuting. That’s what Google has done with its Googleplex campus that they are about to spend millions more to make even more attractive. For Google the place is so great that they had to adopt a rule for first year workers LIMITING the time they spend on campus.” 

So as usual, we tend get lost in the din of the discussion.

To change people’s behavior, give them the burning desire to do that which you want them to do.

And that advice applies to all of us in our personal and business lives as well.

Light their fire rather than burn down the house.

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When Not To Forgive

Never.  Always forgive.

When not to forget.

Always.

Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting and some people may be dysfunctionally liberated by your forgiveness and attempt to continue the hurt.

Forgive anyway.

But don’t forget.

And don’t allow the person you are forgiving to push your boundaries.

The main benefit to forgiving others is not for them.  It’s for us.  Forgiving is a freeing thing. 

Think about the animosity and vitriol that engulfs families, friends and associates because we are more interested in continuing to hurt ourselves than to let it go.

We forgive former presidents (Nixon and Clinton).

We forgive athletes (Tiger Woods and soon, Lance Armstrong).

We forgive drug addicts, entertainers and other people in the public space but don’t know personally.  Forgiveness is a human trait.

So forgive freely.  It’s a freeing thing that when healthy boundaries are enforced it allows us to get back to living with positive energy.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” –

Lewis B. Smedes

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4 Ways To Increase Happiness By 50%

A recent USA Today story researched the happiest states in the union based on a study from mathematicians at the University of Vermont. 

They used Twitter real time posts to gauge how people were feeling looking for words like “wine” and “food” to determine that Napa, CA is the happiest city in the country.  And Beaumont, TX was dead last of 373 cities because of a lot of swearing and, as the article points out, “a shortage of ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’”.

Hawaii is the happiest state according to this Twitter word analysis and Louisiana the last due to “an abundant use of profanity”.  Researchers did not read the tweets for context. 

Of course, you don’t need a research study to tell you unhappy people live everywhere and so do happy ones. 

A more important study shows that people who have less – like the citizens of the Fiji Islands – are happier than the more stressed and wealthy residents of major cities.

So, how can anyone anywhere increase their happiness by 50% now – today

  1. Find at least one thing to be grateful for every hour.
     
  2. Don’t postpone or talk yourself out of anything joyful that happens for any reason large or, more importantly, small.
     
  3. At least once a day, make it about someone else not about us.
     
  4. Be mindful of trying to live in the moment.  Experts say even trying and failing to live in the now makes us happier.

“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it” — Jacques Prévert

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Taking Fate Into Your Own Hands

Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search For Meaning writes about both the physical and mental challenges of surviving in a World War II concentration camp. 

It is a book about hope.

When Frankl told a friend that he would join him attempting to escape, he recalls an intense unpleasant feeling that came over him.

But something loomed larger for Frankl, a doctor and psychiatrist who was assigned to caring for the health of sick and dying at Auschwitz.

He decided not to attempt an escape.  He listened to his inner voice and feelings and the results were transformative.  To hear Frankl tell it:

“As soon as I told him with finality that I made up my mind to stay with my patients, the unhappy feeling left me.  I did not know what the following days would bring, but I had gained an inward peace that I had never experienced before.”

The message is clear.

Making the decision to take fate into your own hands is more difficult than knowing the right thing to do.

Courage to decide.

The immediate serenity of inward peace once the decision is made.

This serves a template for the rest of us in our workaday world where too frequently we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the fear of deciding even when we know what to do.

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How To Win Enthusiastic Cooperation

Just recently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer issued an edict to her young workforce of Yahoos mandating that they cut out virtual work arrangements and start showing up in person.  

Mayer claims that the virtual arrangement is inefficient and that the work force needs to be more collaborative.

I asked Morley Winograd, author of Millennial Momentum and expert on Generation Y about whether the “collaborative” generation would respond well to Mayer’s ultimatum.

Winograd said that Yahoo should follow in the footsteps of rival Google which spent millions to expand what it calls the Googleplex campus.  In others words, Google is trying to make the workplace such a great place that people will want to show up rather than telecommute. 

Google is among only a handful of companies that understand the importance of motivating a changing work force.  Yahoo is probably under financial pressure from its lenders to cut costs and gain efficiencies, but to call their employees back to work is likely to fail.

To motivate others, we have to give them the burning desire to do that which we are asking.

Mandates no longer work. 

Threats to do it or else — as Yahoo is telling its workers — will backfire and their talent will migrate to more enlightened employers.

In fact, whether it’s work or home — with spouses, children or friends and family — making that which you are asking others to do more attractive is a virtual guarantee of cooperation.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”  — Viktor Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning

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