Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Flexible Workplace: Are You A Good Fit?

Although I always assumed that people like the concept of a flexible work schedule, I was surprised to hear a whole lot of my friends feel the flexible working is not their cup of tea. Some of the reasons I have heard are:

  1.  Taking out time from family to work is difficult. It’s best to leave for work at a fixed time and come back at a fixed time. Being flexible raise expectations of both colleagues and family members.
  2. Multi-tasking is not something I am excellent in doing (assuming that work flex also means multitasking, an assumption I disagree with)
  3.  In India, working flexible hours makes you less competitive, and you miss out on plum opportunities.
  4. Family is less supportive when I work from home.

Elena, a community member of the group I interact often, says on the topic, that flexitime hinders productivity, in terms of teamwork. She said, ‘Unless your work in isolation, your flexibility can become someone else's coordination nightmare.’

Carol, a midlife career specialist, said, ‘I think it depends on the industry. Before becoming self-employed, the nature of the work of the organisation that I worked for and the need to provide a face to face customer service between certain hours, made it very challenging for those who were having to cover front line services. I know at times that this was particularly challenging for the Team Leaders who had to organise the teams and the work taking into account those that worked flexibly.’

Another group member, Diana, said, ‘I definitely thinks it helps productivity but shouldn't be used 100%. Individual projects should have flexibility but group projects need in-person face time. I like tele-conferencing and Skype but sometimes you have to be in-person to get a job done.’

I am a big fan of flexible work, as I feel the flexibility allows me to balance my work and family very well, when my husband stays away from home a lot on work. But yes, one needs to have a good fit to be able to work flexible time. Are you a good fit?

Read my posts on flexible work:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Makeup and Breakup Stories by Nihar Pradhan

This is a mixed bag of short stories by writer Nihar Pradhan, an IT professional, and I guess that’s why he named it as, ‘Makeup and Breakup Stories, Contemporary Classics for Digital Natives’. More than the book, I was intrigued by the title. As a professional whose life moved as much in the digital space as the author himself, I was really hooked by the title. I always thought the term, ‘contemporary classic’ is an oxymoron, and couldn’t wait to read to see if the stories explain the title or not.

Pic Courtesy:

So did the stories live up to my expectations? Well, let me tell you, that I found Nihar to be a wonderful person, who had sent me an author-signed copy to review. I was thrilled. Reviewing books is my hobby, and I am not a professional critic, so to speak. So whenever someone extends this courtesy towards me, I am always impressed. 

Coming back to the book, well, like I said, it’s a mixed bag. Some are good, and others are some I didn’t enjoy as much as my favorite ones. The ones I loved are the story of the Missing File, for very rarely people write stories of the lives of the defense people (except for Bollywood of course, but then those are glamorized versions with no relations to truth whatsoever), so it was a pleasure. ‘Fleeting Romance’ and ‘Whats in a Name’ are good too. And there’s even a ‘Makeup and Breakup’ story too, which is essentially a conversation between Marriage and Divorce (yes, they are personified).

So what’s my opinion on this book? Well, let’s put it this way: that I may live in a contemporary world, but classics are where my literary interest lies. And since this is more of a contemporary set of stories, rather than classical ones, well, these may not be exactly what I will pick up on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  I guess I am not too fond of phrases like, ‘brushing my teeth with anti-germ Pepsodent’ or ‘I just sipped the Nestle Fruit Juice’ in my books that take up most of my waking hours.  Corporate branding in stories too? I guess we are moving to a different era of publishing now.

But hey, don’t that let you stop from reading this book. You may find some hidden gems here. Let me know when you do, I will re-read them to understand your preference. Reading is all about experimenting with different genres, trying out new authors. And in that note, I am glad I read this one. Thank you, Nihar for sending me this one. Wish you luck.