The last two years have changed the way many of us work in technology. The pandemic allowed many of us to work remotely, a challenge that many companies are struggling with. Or perhaps, management is struggling with and employees appreciate. In any case, no matter what your situation, the way we work has changed.
The change wasn’t easy at times, and even though many people appreciated the extra time in their day from not commuting to work, they often had other challenges. Co-existing with others in a residence, finding a place to work that allows concentration, and even learning how to separate work from home life. These have been issues for many data professionals and other technologists. Even if we’ve had an easy time adapting, not all of our colleagues have felt the same way.
One of the core values that we have at Redgate Software is being reasonable. It’s a somewhat amorphous value that I didn’t know how to interpret or act on at first. Our former CEO repeated this often in updates, to the point where I have heard other management and employees use the verbiage in meetings on a regular basis.
I think as a company, we’ve learned how to be reasonable with others. We don’t overly rely on policies or rules to guide us in how we accomplish work and interact with each other. Instead, we use judgment, and managers are flexible in their interactions with employees. As a Type-A, driven American, it has sometimes felt strange to not have everyone trying to outwork everyone else. It was an adjustment for me.
The idea is not that we do little work or avoid work, but that we avoid working too much. It’s not about the hours anyone puts in, it’s the contribution they make to their department. No one watches the parking lot to see who’s in the office or who’s logged in. Instead, we expect people to manage themselves, meet their commitments, and be accountable for the tasks they’ve been assigned. At the same time, we cover for each other and support the team. We’ve had people out sick, out for maternity/paternity leave, or struggle with other life-altering issues. The rest of their team will help cover for someone, knowing they will do the same for us.
We treat each other as humans, have empathy for others, and act towards others as we would want to be treated. At the same time, we have goals and missions to drive us forward to build a better company. We find balance in how we do this, and it’s worked very well for over 20 years. In many ways, it’s how I try to live life. There are good and bad days. There are busy ones, some hectic, chaotic times, but also slower times when I can recover and recharge.
It is really hard to describe what being reasonable means, and at times I am not quite sure how to act in a situation, but I try to put myself in someone else’s shoes, see their point of view, and then decide how I would want to be treated. That usually guides me as to how I should proceed. It’s worked well for 15 years for me and I look forward to being reasonable for the next 15.