in People Management Personal ~ read.

The problem with "warm seats"

My 5 year-old son Chael was super happy when I dropped him off at school today.

I honestly can't remember the last time I took him but I know why I wasn't able to take him as much as I wanted to: I spent my life working in companies backwards workplace policies that belong back in the industrial age.

I'm talking about policies like "you have to be at the office by 9am or we dock your pay. We don't care that you actually work more than 9 hours a day--which, btw, we're not paying you overtime for because going above and beyond is just expected of you. But god forbid you're late for 3 mins, because we swear we'll slap you with templated corrective action forms and, ultimately fire you"

Or "oh you have to go to the bank or the dentist or have to attend your kid's recital in the middle of a work day? You can go. We can't legally stop you. But know that it's frowned upon and we'll guilt the shit out of you every chance we get."

As we build companies that mostly employ knowledge workers, why do we still care about warm seats when we should be caring about extracting the best output and value out of our people? And isn't the first step to, as much as we can, create an environment that allows them to stay focused and achieve flow faster by alleviating all the anxieties they may have outside of work?  

This becomes a no-brainer when you realize that making such concessions has little to no negative impact on the business.

The issue on businesses continuing to give warm seats any sort of relevance in people operations and our collective obsession with hustle porn also has a lot to do with diversity and inclusion. Workplaces are not only biased towards certain races or gender; they are not just potentially racist or sexist. They can be "ageist" and "circumstanceist" too.

This is the reason why some workplaces favor young, single people who can "hustle" and "party"(this is important for optics) and put older employees who have families they want to spend time with at an uncomfortable disadvantage.

Moving on to have started a company of my own, if you work for me, I promise I will never guilt you for needing--nay, wanting--to take your kid to school once in a while. Even if it means having a cold seat in the office for a few hours.

Because honestly, who cares about that kind of pedantry as long as I get your best, most inspired work?