From Great to Crap is Mostly a Management Failure

Can we all agree that we hire someone our thoughts are that this new hire can only get better. We think this person will be great when we hire them, and we expect them to only get better. Is this true? Or do you feel when you make an offer to a new hire this person will be a piece of crap you’ll one day fire?

If this is the case, when an employee turns into garbage we must accept the fact this it is mostly our doing as leaders. Somewhere along the line, we failed this person. We hired potential to be great and we did not help this person reach their greatness.

Where do we fail as leaders when someone goes from Great to Crap? 

– We failed to truly assess this person before we hired them. We thought we were hiring great, but we didn’t do enough due diligence to truly understand this person’s skills and motivations.

– We failed to onboard this employee thoroughly to set them on a path for success. To prepare them for our culture and norms.

– We failed to train and develop this person in a way that would assist them on their path of success within our organization. To give them the skills needed to succeed in their role.

– We failed to define, accurately and clearly, what a ‘great’ performance looked like in our organization and in this role.

– We failed to lead them to a performance that would guarantee their success. We allowed their performance to slip into negative territory and not help pull them out of it.

As a leader, we fail our people constantly. Should we talk about how employees fail us? We could, that’s what we usually do. We find every excuse in the world to tell ourselves how a great person turned into a piece of crap when the common denominator was our leadership. It’s not us, it has to them.

They fooled us in the interview.

They lied about their past performance.

They embellished their skill sets and motivations.

They didn’t do the work necessary.

It’s them, it’s not us. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Well, anyway, I gave them the exact same thing I’ve given every hire before them.

Maybe they needed a bit more than all the hires. Maybe they needed something less, but different than the other hires. Maybe a one-size-fits-all training, development, performance doesn’t fit every size.

Okay, Yes, there is dual ownership over failed hires

That means, if someone has failed, under your leadership you must first look inward to what part you truly owned. What you didn’t do to help this person succeed. I’m depressed after every single termination I’ve done in my career because I know somewhere along the line, I failed as a leader. There was a point where I could have made a difference, and instead, I made an excuse.

I become a better selector of people and a better leader if I internalize each failed hire and try to better understand the part I played in this failure. Did I hire someone who had fewer weaknesses, but no real strengths? Did I believe that giving this person the “same” was good enough? Did I see this person start to fail and not address it immediately believing that a “great” leader would not micromanage and give this person freedom?

Great to crap isn’t a one-person journey. It takes a lot of failures and people to make a great person into a crappy hire. What role did you play in your last bad hire?

Get Back to HQ as Fast as You Can!

I know you want to keep working remotely. It’s awesome to be able to wake up, throw on some sweats and just check email. I mean this is what “work” should be, right!? Like not really working, but getting paid for it, this is the best time to be alive!

Okay, where was I? Sorry, Bridgerton is on in the background and episode 5 so, well, you know! No. No! I wasn’t really watching, just background noise. Similar to Steve from Accounting stopping by the cube to talk about nothing.

You’re a complete idiot if you don’t go back to Headquarters! 

I’m sorry to have to be your big brother and break the news, but the future of work isn’t you sitting on your couch in sweatpants deciding if you should paint an accent wall, or add some succulents to the shelf behind your “desk” that people see when you’re on a Zoom call.

If you actually care about your career, you are pushing your leadership team to get back to work, in the office. At some point, people who make decisions are going to start promoting people and the people who will get promoted will be the people with who they have the best relationship. Oh, sorry, you thought it was skill-based, performance-based promotions! That’s cute. Anywho.

The moment someone asks if you want to return to in-office work, you say, “Yes!” You tell them, you’ll actually come in right now, this moment. You already have your desk stuff packed and are ready to come back.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a “New World of Work”! 

Like a Robinhood Game Stop trader, the world is about to teach you a lesson or two. The world of work doesn’t give a sh*t about what you actually want. Oh, we’ll tell you we do, but at the end of the month, there’s this little thing we look at called financials. Look it up, it’s important. Turns out, you working at half capacity at home, isn’t the greatest thing for our financials. I mean, it is the greatest thing for your home design skills and you teaching sign language to your cat, so there’s that!

I know, it’s me, not you. I’m sure I’m wrong.

You know what. The best companies and leaders in the world have already figured this out. They figured out if you really want high levels of collaboration. Great decision-making. Great creativity. To build the next biggest thing in the world. You kind of have to be together, not on a video.

The new world of work isn’t remote. At its best, it’s probably you get treated more like an adult. Like, “Okay, Timmy, you can not come in on Wednesday because there’s a snowstorm and we think you’ll at least stay up on email, and return a couple of calls.” The pandemic showed us the new world of work, can be more flexible, and in some additional cases, remote, but for the most part we need you back in the cube.

Why Won’t This Work? 

Basically, it because we won’t do two things:

  1. We won’t really define, in true measurable, non-subjective terms, what performance looks like for your position. If we did, you might be able to work remotely and actually meet expectations of performance.
  2. We won’t put a system in place that will truly measure what the hell you’re actually doing. The technology is out there, but you feel micromanaged that someone would actually check to see if you are doing what you’re being paid to do.

So, we’ll just have most of you come back to work. We’ll do the same dance we’ve been doing for a hundred years. It could be better, but better comes with a lot of change, and right now we don’t even change our pants daily.

In the meantime, get your ass back to HQ if you really want to advance your career. And, please, spare me the “I’m not being treated fairly” when you get passed over for a promotion while sitting on your couch in pants with animals on them.

The Weekly Dose: @OurTilt – Leave that doesn’t suck!

This week on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the startup employee leave technology Tilt. Tilt is reimagining Leave Management to help companies improve retention, streamline processes and reinforce corporate culture.

Let’s face it, most organizations use an Excel Spreadsheet to track company employee leave. No judgment! The vast majority of organizations have tracked leave this way since the invention of Excel! Before that, it was written files. But, now, thanks to Tilt there is a more elegant way to administer employee leave that helps all the stakeholders.

You might be thinking, “do we really have a problem tracking leave?” Maybe not, but leave is more than just HR tracking it. You also have the employee who is on leave, and the manager of the employee who is on leave, who often feel in the dark the entire process.

What I like about Tilt:

– One easy platform to streamline all of your employees leaves into one place where all parties can log in the get the information they need. Super easy to add an employee to leave, and each employee has their own access to track and get answers they need while on leave.

– Fully compliant, in every state, so a perfect solution for those organizations that are multiple states and find it hard to keep up on changing legislation. Tilt helps ensure you stay in compliance and don’t’ find yourself in legal hot water.

– Tilt guides help employees and managers through the process, lowering the amount of time and questions leave administrators have to deal with on an ongoing basis. Also, integrates auto-nudges to ensure both employees and managers do what they need to do, when they need to do!

– Direct communication from employees, managers, and leave administrators that are logged within the platform to ensure all communication is tracked and documented. Plus, great, ongoing manager education around the do’s and don’ts in having an employee on leave.

– Tilt works with every client to review and update leave policies and plans, to ensure your leave plans are built on what’s best for your organization and your culture.

I really like what Tilt is doing. Organizations big and small struggle to administer leave in a really easy way and most of the time all the company leave knowledge is usually stuck in one person’s brain. Also, administering leave is a complicated job, the more employees who have on leave, and the more states you must administer it in.

Pre-leave, leave, and post-leave, you, your employees, and your managers will have the information they need when they need it. All the while the tech helps you stay compliant, saving you time and money. Well worth a demo, especially for those companies managing leave in multiple states.

The Rules for Office Romances

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks. As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees on Valentine’s Day:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work-spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps as you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

Buy Game Stop! No wait, get back to work!

Everyone is talking about Game Stop and AMC and a bunch of other companies that no one should really be talking about! Why? Because a bunch of remote workers are sitting at home, not working, and playing around on Reddit and their Robinhood brokerage accounts!

Yeah, I said it!

You have employees you’re paying to work remotely who are messing around thinking they’re day traders by buying crappy stocks off Reddit suggestions. Also, they think they’re sticking it to the “man” by doing this, so in their mind, they’re really saving the world. All while you’re paying them to sell more Saas software…

This is why Remote Work doesn’t work! 

Everyone loves Remote Work. Why wouldn’t you. You get paid to do the same work in half the time, and you get to do it sitting on your couch with Netflix running in the background and you’re still wearing the same stretchy pants you woke up in! God Bless America! Am I right!?

Remote Work fails when leaders feel like even one person is taking advantage of the system!

Look I get it, I get that Timmy is sitting in his office, at the office, and still not doing anything, but Mary, your CEO, can walk by Timmy’s office and scare him enough into thinking he should probably do some work.

Most organizations suck at having measurable performance indicators for every position, or any positions, besides sales. Most performance measures that employees have, would happen regardless if they actually did their job or traded crappy stocks all day, or ran an Etsy shop out of their cube.

Can’t we all just be adults!? 

Apparently, no.

You don’t want to be micromanaged at work, but the true future of “Remote” work is we are going to micromanage the sh*t out of you! (No, not me, all the other bad folks!) The bigger the company, the better the technology they’ll be able to afford to ensure you’re actually working and not acting like a wannabe revolutionary taking down the stock market by buying bad stocks.

If you have over 500 employees working remotely right now, at least 3% of those people are amateur day trading on your dime. It’s just a numbers game, at this point. Depending on what your business does, you can probably raise or lower that number 1-2%.

“But, Tim! You don’t get it! I work a flexible schedule, so I’m putting in more hours and still being a bad day trader!” No, you’re not. You’re an idiot who is going to cry you got wronged when you get fired because your company found out a part-time seventeen year old can produce more than you, without any formal college education.

Gawd, I actually love being the voice of reason! 

Man! I’m not a life coach, but what I wouldn’t do to punch some stupid 35-year-old dude in the mouth who’s trying to explain to me why Game Stop is a good investment, ‘really’! Turns out, no one needs a brick and mortar store to buy online games! Thanks for the advice, Trevor, how did all those folks at your company respond to that analysis in the company Slack!?

Okay, you don’t have to work forty hours a week, because when you’re home you have fewer distractions and you get your job done in thirty. The question you should really be asking yourself isn’t if America is considering you a hero for buying Game Stop stock, but if you can do that all day and still get your job done, who else is thinking they probably don’t need to be paying you any longer?

I can guarantee you, Game Stop doesn’t care about your job!

How Many of Your Employees Are Going to Get the Covid Vaccine?

I’m sure you’ve been seeing the headlines, across America we continue to hear about front-line workers, healthcare workers who are refusing to get the Covid vaccine. In Ohio, it’s estimated that 60% of nursing home workers declined to get the vaccine!

I want to believe that those choosing not to get the vaccine when they could get that vaccine are just ignorant and natural selection will take its course. But, not even 100% of hospital workers, nurses, and doctors on Covid units are getting the vaccine they are eligible to get!

So, we know that when it comes time that we can help our own employees get the vaccine, not all will want it. This will cause a bunch of issues in organizations that we haven’t even come close to really knowing, yet.

Can you fire an employee who refuses to get a Covid Vaccine? 

Short answer? Yes. The longer answer depends on a number of factors. Do they have a legitimate religious exemption, not one they’ve conveniently made up in the past day or so? Do they have a document medical issue? Etc.

The reality is employers have a lot of ground to stand on when forcing employees to get a vaccine or lose their job. Getting the vaccine becomes a workplace safety issue and the government and the courts have shown a willingness to back these protections.

The more important question is, do you as an employer want to force employees to get the vaccine, or is there a better way to get the same result? This is really a company by company decision.

What are some ways to get employees to want to take the vaccine? 

Let’s face it, the vast majority of most employees, at most employers, will actually want to get the vaccine and get back to life as “normal” before the pandemic. So, anything you roll out to entice your employees to get the vaccine will be a bonus most probably didn’t need. That being said, here’s what I’ve been hearing some employers are doing:

  • Cash bonus to get the vaccine. $100 if you get the vaccine in a certain time period once it’s available.
  • Extra time off.
  • Extra flexibility around their schedule.
  • Making it super convenient, like offering vaccines onsite at the workplace.

It’s basically the carrot or the stick. Most likely, organizations will have to use both to get to the point of ‘herd immunity’. The reality is, based on data, you don’t actually have to have 100% of employees get vaccinated to make your workplace safe.

I think it’s important to remember that factor. You really don’t need 100%. As organizations do we really want to fight that battle with someone who just refuses, yet, they are a good, solid employee? I don’t think it will be worth it in the long run.

The one thing you might try is drafting an agreement for those who refuse which would state, they are refusing to get the vaccine and I would try and add in some language that gives you the right as an employer to be able to let other employees know who are those employees are aren’t vaccinated from a workplace safety issue, so other employees know who they need to continue to social distance from. Is this ideal? Heck no! There are HIPAA issues, among others. But, this is about how do we keep the majority of our employees safe.

Now, before drafting some agreement like that up on your own, get your legal counsel involved. They’ll balk at first, but with some pushing, they can put something together that will protect the organization from any legal blowback.

Again, you have to weigh the outcome of doing something like this. Those employees who refuse the vaccine, sign your agreement, and you make that public among your employees is now wearing a scarlet letter around. That isn’t good either, from a cultural standpoint.

This is why HR is so much fun! We don’t live in black and white, we live in the gray. There isn’t one perfect answer to the question. Of course, the best-case scenario is every single one of your employees wants the vaccine and gets the vaccine. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening with too many organizations.

The NCAA Transfer Portal in the New College Athlete Job Board!

If you are into college athletics, you have heard of the NCAA Transfer portal. If you are not into college athletics, basically the transfer portal is the technology used for an athlete of one school to let everyone involved know they intend to move from their current school to a new school.

There are over 500,000 student-athletes at NCAA sanctioned schools.

For the most part, we only hear about athlete transfers for the big sports of football and basketball, because that’s what the media covers, but it’s happening in all the sports.

So, what’s the big deal? 

Let me give you a quick history lesson. For centuries these NCAA schools have pretty much held all the power. Kids want to go to school to play sports, coaches at these schools recruited the athletes they wanted, and once they got that kid to sign his/her letter of intent that kid was basically stuck. Of course, they could leave, but if they did the transfer rules were so restrictive they almost always had to sit a year at the very least.

The coaches could leave for other schools, without any waiting period. Could be fired, etc. All the while the kid just had to stay and put up with whatever was thrown at them.

Recently though, the transfer rules have been relaxed allowing the vast majority of kids to transfer without having to sit out, if they are willing to give some reason that the NCAA feels are remotely close to being true and in the kid’s best interest.

“Oh, Johnny, didn’t get to play this year and he’s upset. Oh, his Mom is stressed out!? Well, we better let Johnny leave State U and go to HomeTown U so he can close to her and play football.”

So, yes, it’s become a complete cluster of movement!

What if this was your company? 

Now, I know what you’re going to say. Tim, this isn’t one company, this is thousands of schools that compete against each other, it’s just fair market dynamics at play. But, that is not quite true!

While we like to think of schools competing against each other, they’re all still staying in the NCAA! All the money is still being split up amongst the NCAA institutions. And just like a real company, some “divisions” are getting more resources than others, even though we talk about “equity” all the time!

HR gets less budget than sales because guess what, sales makes us money.

Football gets more resources than Men’s swimming because guess what?

D1 gets more resources than DIII because guess what? Turns out, some things are more important than others, or at least someone at the top made that decision.

This is more like one organization with 500,000 employees who all of sudden went out to all 500,000 employees and said if you don’t like your current job, or boss, or team members you work with, go ahead and apply for any job in the company, and we’ll let that manager determine if they want you or not!

Can you imagine the chaos?

All that said, I love it! 

The recruiter and leader in me love the transfer portal! I work hard to attract great talent and get them to sign on the line that is dotted. I then have this obligation to live up to what I sold this recruit on. If I don’t, I lose. If I do, well, that’s what the hell I was supposed to do, right?!

Too often, we are asking 17 and 18-year-old kids to make decisions on their life that isn’t reality. We wine and dine them, they show up to campus and learn that real life isn’t the recruiting trip. But then we expect them to live by this decision their adolescent mind made. This makes zero sense when you put into play that all these coaches lie and say whatever it takes to get them to sign.

Traditionalists in college athletics hate the transfer portal. They want it back to where they can control kids through a contract. I think this is the best, long term, for all involved. It is less likely you’ll have a few elite programs stash away all the great athletes. Once these athletes get to school and find out they won’t be playing any time soon, they can make a move that better fits them.

College coaches will have to be more transparent to recruits, or risk having a roster they need to rebuild each year. Kids will have to take more time to think about their long term future, or risk being seen as the kid who just jumps around when they don’t get their way.

This has all kinds of angles to corporate internal mobility! 

We love talking about internal mobility in corporate HR, but rarely can we point to organizations where it works great. Why? No, it’s not about technology. It’s about the same thing college athletes are facing. I thought I signed up for “X” and I got here and it’s “Y”, but oh, hey, great, I see “Y” over there in that department, let me move!?

Well, sorry, you can’t move, at least, not right now. First, you need to stay here for a year, and perform great, and get your boss to like you, and… “But, I just want to move over there and be great!?” Yeah, no.

It leads to the question, why don’t we allow employees to post and move jobs whenever they want? You hired them believing they would be great. They show up and almost immediately determine that the position they have isn’t right for them, but another one is. If you hired them believing they would be great, we should let them go be great, without waiting, right?

It’s messy. Like the transfer portal. Messy isn’t always wrong, it’s just messy as we work through it and figure it all out. The reality is, overall, the number is way lower than we think.

What can your employees count on from you in 2021?

At the HR Technology Conference his fall, Marcus Buckingham gave a talk on some new research he did on resilience. It was definitely timely because of the year that is 2020. Also, when you talk to c-suite leaders all will say one of the most sought after attributes they want in their employees would be resilience.

From his research, Marcus found that employees determine how much they trust a leader and an organization comes down to just a few simple things, and one of those major things is not what you hope and dreams are for the organization, but what you can specifically tell employees that they can count on, 100% count on.

We see organizations come out all the time with examples of this:

  • Google said they will not have in-office work until September 2021, but the plan is to bring people back in-office at that point. Concrete date and plan, of course, it might get pushed out again, but at the very least you know you have remote work until September 2021.
  • I’ve seen CEOs come out in 2020 and tell their employees we will not lay one person off this year. For many employees in those companies, that was such a relief to hear.
  • It can be as simple as letting your employees know you will not be changing your benefit plan for the coming year or moving your home office after a merger or acquisition.

Of course, all leaders want to share their vision and dreams. We love aspirational leaders, even if we don’t completely trust them! What all employees want, based on the research, is a leader who will tell them what they can count on moving forward, even if it’s something small.

“I can you this much, for sure…” Then, from a trust standpoint, you move heaven and earth to make that happen! So, the old leadership axiom of under-promise, over-deliver fits really well into the trust dynamic.

Also, don’t make this lame! 

“You can count on me to always tell you the truth!” No, I can’t! That’s a lie right there! As soon as something happens, let’s say talks about acquiring a new company, or having your company acquired, you won’t be able to share anything about that.

“Hey, are we getting bought?” Well, I can’t yes or no to that question, and that’s the truth! No, you’re an idiot who is saying nothing, and now I don’t trust you.

What can your employees count on? 

Sometimes this is the most difficult question to answer because there is way more we can’t count on, then we can. But, if you can come up with those few concrete things, you can leverage that trust a long way.

2020 has shown our employees are not as fragile as we like to believe. For the most part, employees who truly understand the truth of their circumstances are much more resilient than we think. “Hey, 2021, is going to be extremely hard on the organization. We need sales, or we will be in trouble. Everything we will do needs to focus on how to help us sell more.”

Yes, some employees will run and find a new job. But, many more will fight and show their resilience and reward your honesty. At the end of the day, we just want to know we aren’t being lied to and after that, it’s pretty remarkable what we are willing to face and conquer.

3 out of 4 Employees Actually Want to Return to the Office!

I think most HR pros disagree with this number. I didn’t make it up like I do most of the time, but I was having this feeling that way to many HR leaders and pros were feeling that their entire office workforce just wanted to remain remote. The number is from this recent Human Experience study.

Basically, it’s saying 25% of workers want to return full-time to the office, 50% want some kind of hybrid model where they will return, but have additional flexibility to work remotely, and 25% want to stay remote on a permanent basis.

My guess is most HR leaders and pros if asked this question are under the belief that 50%+ of their office workers want to remain remote, full-time. At least, that’s what I hear when I ask that question to them. Much smaller sample, but it’s also what I hear and read.

What the article is really showing is that our workforce has had a taste of flexibility, and most really, really liked what it tasted like! I find that in very large cities, organizations and leaders are much more flexible. It’s just the nature of big city life. Trains don’t always run on time, commutes can be crazy, etc.

As you get out into smaller communities the expectations changed. You can always make it into work because you’re driving your own car. If you were 15 minutes late in Milwaukee, people will question you. If you’re 30 minutes late in New York, no one says a thing. So, having some flexibility to be treated like a real, functioning adult, for most people has been a breath of fresh air.

But, and it’s a big but – we can’t be naive as HR leaders believing everyone just wants remote. They don’t want remote, the vast majority, want flexibility. They want some understanding. I can be a high performer, and  I can meet my goals and exceed them, just treat me like an adult.

The pandemic might change many things about work and life moving forward, but it won’t change our desire as humans, most of us, to want to have live interactions, one-on-one, face-to-face, to congregate, to share ideas, and see your real-life body language, if at all possible.

Don’t be fooled by a loud minority voice saying a remote workplace is the best workplace. It’s “a” workplace, great for some, horrible for many. Just as in-office is great for some, and horrible for others. The best organizations will figure out the balance.

7 Things Dudes Need for their Remote Office

Ladies, you do not need to read this post! You were actually born to put together a remote office. You might even have a Pinterest dream board for the perfect office. Most dudes, suck at this! They are still sitting, hunched over at their card-table, kitchen table they bought at Costco with the four folding chairs, or on the couch.

Sure, we (dudes) probably have a better WiFi connection than you do. That is the extent of our remote office ability. Great WiFi.

But, I’ve been told by many prominent women in my life that I kind of act like a chic, a lot. Many of my good friends are actual women! I have a good eye for interior design, and I think a great space can make you more productive.

BUT, the dude in me also knows this can’t take a lot of time or effort, because us dudes have other more important things to do, like run wifi speed tests to find out why our other dude friends somehow have faster upload speeds than we do!

Here are the 7 Things Dudes Need for their Remote Office (will not include any technology suggestions as that is for the 7 Things Chics need in their Remote Office):

1. Sturdy, Minimalist Desk. I like L-shape, but your space might not be big enough. Essentially, you need something to sit your computer, extra monitors, and stuff on.

2. An Office Chair that costs more than $99. Look the chair you had in the cube at work probably cost $399+. If you’re going to sit in something for over 1,000 hours per year, make sure it’s good and comfortable, for a long time! Plan on $400+ and think Steelcase, Herman Miller, etc. Don’t skip on a great chair! “Looks cool!” isn’t a great trait of a remote office chair.

3. Front Lighting. Sure it looks great to have a window as your backdrop, but it sucks as a functional workspace because every time you are on a video call you get washed out! So, you either have to have a big ring light staring you in the face, or have the window in front of you and let all that natural light make you look great!

4. Head Phone Stand. We (dudes) spend a lot on our headphones, don’t screw up that investment by continually throwing them on the desk every time you get up. Plus, when you leave your desk for the day/evening, it just looks nice!

5. Some Succulents. Some succ-a-what!? Now, my pod-partner Jessica Lee, is love with some sort of rubber tree plant. That’s cool, but maybe too big for a nice desk plant or two! Also, you’re a dude, you will kill real plants, so these are ones that will look great no matter what!

6. Cable Management. I know you don’t care that you have 7 things plugged into three extension cords that are snaking all over your office space, but it looks terrible! Also, a messing space makes you unproductive. Let’s tighten it up!

7. Artwork – Again, this must be strategically positioned so that people can see it. Now, let’s talk about limits. Sure, you can have a Star Wars print, but it better be retro and it better be framed! Another option is great landscape photos of mountain ranges or lakes, etc. You can even go pop culture, just make sure it makes a statement. If you’re questioning your decision, have a friend, who is female, who you think is a neat freak take a look, first! Go big, 36×24, or even bigger depending on your space, no one wants to see some 12X10″ framed photo all by itself on the wall. I’m looking at ordering this print for my office right now – iconic! Check out Etsy for some great prints and prices.