Or Why Seinfeld’s George Costanza Was On To Something
For over 20 years I commuted from various places around New Jersey into New York city. Sometimes by bus, train, car and for a time, even ferry.
At best it was a time to prepare, nap, catch up on my reading, or simply think.
At worst, it was enduring snow, rain, and extreme heat in the summer and freezing temps in the winter. I disliked shuffling along like cows to get on the escalator (when they worked), enduring loud cell phone talkers and suffering through tortuous delays which happened monthly, culminating for me in 2001 during the 9-11 attacks. “There had to be a better way,” I thought, after my Escape From New York, thanks to the flotilla organized by the Circle Line Cruises that offered free rides to anyone who wanted to get to Hoboken.
On any typical day, upon actually reaching the office I found that to be a mixed bag. While I enjoyed most of my colleagues, sometimes there were a lot of distractions, too. But collaborations sprung up at surprising and unlikely places not to mention opportunities for lunch hour bonding or after hour drinks. Bursts of productivity would be sprinkled with interruptions and bouts of weariness when thoughts of napping under my desk like George Costanza would cross my mind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately since Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer recently announced that employees of this far-flung digital company could no longer work from home.
But it was an article that I read in the New York Times that basically summed it up best for me. It’s a question of balance.
Since 2006 I’ve had the privilege of owning and operating my own successful Internet marketing company. All my website designers and assistants work from home yet I maintain an actual office outside my home for weekly face-to-face meetings. It’s during these face to face sessions that things come up that would never really have a chance to surface by working virtually. But then being able to take those seeds of an idea and bring them back to our home offices to work on them throughout the week at our own paces seems the best of both worlds. And as long as deadlines are met I don’t care if someone completes that task at 2am in their underwear or 11am sitting in a Dunkin Donuts. As long as the work gets done and things get communicated, I say if you want to take that nap under your desk go right ahead. George would be proud.