we (the employees) received an email that seemed to complain that we weren’t making our requisite 75 hours each week. to which i replied:
we were recently discussing the latest project hours email sent out by matt. we have a few concerns we would like to address here. while we understand that you guys are concerned about getting the 25 hours minimum a week from each of us, you should also try to understand that reaching that minimum is important to us as well because it appears to have a direct relationship to our paychecks and the well being of the company in general.
while it may seem that there are a lot of projects currently in the pipeline, how much of that is actually given out to us? it’s true that chris may have a lot of hours, but that’s because there’s only one programmer in house. meanwhile, we have three designers and a lot of work gets spread around, not to mention whatever internal projects joe would automatically handle. there is also a lot of video work that you guys seem to be receiving, which is all good and well, but those are billable hours that we almost never really see.
another point is that while there seems to be a large list of active projects, there are multiple times where we are waiting on info from either the project managers or clients in order for us to do any work. there are instances where we have waited an extended period of time for projects such as AccountStreet, StockClaim, Dupont, Mitsubishi, MOHC, Contract Leasing and this is time that cannot necessarily be filled in with maintenance work, not to mention that when said required info comes in we manage to get it turned around pretty quickly [read: not as long as it takes to get to us!].
i don’t really know how this could be a surprise as i’m pretty sure that all three of us have made it a point as to how many hours we are predicting each week. perhaps a better reflection of where the concern should be directed is the amount of work we are ascertaining, rather than how many billable hours we accomplish under the required 25.
as for adjusting hours whenever someone is light, we in the back office are usually pretty vocal if we can switch hours around. i’m sure that we’d also be just as willing to take on some work for chris, but you have to understand why we don’t exactly get up and jump out of seats for this type of work; it’s not what we excel at. do we want to be held accountable if we screw something up in regards to programming? sure, if it’s just medial work like putting in content then that is something that should be passed onto us anyway, but chris is usually pretty adamant about what work he should keep because it’s stuff that HE understands.
it’s pretty obvious what we as employees need to keep track of as it’s been something that we’ve been striving for, something that we’ve been looking at and scrutinizing for months (since february?) which is trying to hit the 25 hour mark. every week we mention our hours and if anyone is under 25 there are concerned looks around the room as if this is a surprise and then we get asked questions like “why?” and “does anyone else have any work to pass around?” : these are questions that YOU guys should know the answers to.
we understand the new roles that you guys are trying to take on, but who makes you guys accountable for your own work required within a billable week? it’s understood that project management and financial duties take some time each week or month, but is anything looked at to see if these areas may be where there are some problems as well? how long does it take to get requisite info from clients? how often do we as a company really make the cold calls, or do the hard networking to increase our client base? because really, sometime it feels like these projects fall into our laps, which is something that even you guys have mentioned.
the most important point is that it’s not just the billable hours that float the company. it’s also the work put into getting those hours and keeping them flowing – but with the spreadsheet there with only employee names and hours accomplished (which sadly feels like some type of elementary school competition) it feels like you guys are solely depending on the billable to keep our salaries going.
we understand your concerns because of what you’ve invested into your company. the thing is, as employees we are equally as invested: we’ve dealt with structure changes, internal friction, a struggling business model and serious salary reductions but we are still here. because of this it makes it a little difficult to always hear about billable hours when there’s so much that we don’t know that may also be of concern.
in the end, we are all on the same boat, float or sink. there is no denying that both parties (employees and owners) have put in hard work and made sacrifices. however, a spreadsheet and 75 hours doesn’t take much work and hardly requires all of us to keep track of; where we need to work together is finding the best way for our company to be prosperous.
yes, even the wee, was in there! ;)
when i clicked the send button, i didn’t know what to expect. i am usually pretty laid back, but i wasn’t going to let the higher ups think that we were slacking. we’ve been working hard. we are concerned about the company. we give two shits.
what i got was something that i wasn’t expecting at all: a response applauding my efforts, my time spend, and the comprehensive nature of my response in general. meeting have followed since that day and there is a silent buzz of excitement that was once lacking; people are motivated and inspired as we all strive for a common goal.
it feels good to be back in a place of work where communication is open, ideas are acknowledged, and where people are proud to be working with each other. this has been missing for far too long.
beyond work things are excellent. the past could of weeks have been pretty busy (which would help to explain my lack of writing recently) consisting of visits from my mother, going to virginia, celebrating birthdays, meeting old friends and making new ones. and of course, hanging out with meg.
things are moving on quite well within our relationship. her presence still manages to intoxicate me for better or worse, and i can never seem to get enough of her. it’s been awhile since i’ve ever felt this good about someone, and who feels the same way about me. “it’s a dream” i think to myself from time to time, and always avoid pinching myself just in case, because i never want to wake up.
relationships and excellence aside there will always be some concerns lingering in the back of my head: how long can my car last, or should i start subtly looking around for another vehicle; will i be able to find a new roommate within two months; how is everyone doing; do i have enough funds for my needs and wants for the next couple of months.
but i want to forget them for now and wallow in good thoughts, at least for a little while.