Macchiato on the Keys

When you hear the term “Macchiato on the Keys”, what comes to mind? As a workplace ethicist, it reminds me of how a unique work world concept really started over thirty years ago. Let me explain… 

Peanut Butter on the Keys – The Concept 

Back then, the work world was exploring a startling new concept:  employees working at home.  Horrors:  how could this possibly work? Employees may go into the workplace facility once a month for a face-to-face with their boss and/or peers or to attend a conference.  But, basically, their entire work experience would be operating at their home site with their home computer as their sole peer. 

I loved one of the names this new work concept was being called:  Peanut Butter on the Keys!  It simply meant you were completing all your job responsibilities maybe in your pajamas while, perhaps, having lunch (even breakfast) at the same time you threw in a load of laundry. 

Working from Home – It Will Never Work 

Critics were crying that working from home “ain’t going to work!”  Their reasons?  They had many:  It gave free rein to employees to goof off and not stay focused.  How do you measure work performance? How can you manage your team?  Distractions will be too great.  Productivity would tank.  

Sociologists were weighing in as well – stating the No. 1 reason people enter the work world is for an income to live on.  But, the No. 2 reason (high on the list) is they want to get out of the house – interact with other people – and see the look of satisfaction on the faces of their peers and bosses when they say “Good job!”  None of that would happen in the stay-at-home atmosphere. 

Working from Home Works 

Well….guess what!!   Today – and, at least for the near future – many of you ARE working at home, alone, with your computers as your best friend.  And, Big Surprise…it’s working just fine!  Maybe even better!  However, instead of peanut butter, it is probably your Caramel Macchiato (yum) that might occasionally show up on your keyboard…

And, the surprising benefits are unfolding:  You are saving $$ on clothes, make-up and even haircuts – enjoying a huge cost and time reduction in commuting and daycare – and actually getting more done during the day without workplace distractions mainly because you can manage them!  Even the workouts you piece into the day are adding to your physical health!  In addition, your social interaction is covered by your keyboard and zoom conferences as well as the old-fashioned phone conversations.  You are actually finding you are perhaps working longer hours – and perhaps even shorter hours – but, either way, your productivity is soaring! 

My Challenge to You 

KUDOS to you all!  You are making this way of working just fine.  I would like, however, to hear of any new ethical workplace challenges you are experiencing with this New Normal.  There have to be a few – and, I would love to hear from you what they are and – perhaps more importantly, how you have (or have not) solved them. As you know, we all can learn best from each other! 

Please leave a comment below to start the conversation.

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