I have recently move from a small start-up to a large Fortune 500 company. Whilst I was expecting some changes, some are quite brutal, positive or negative. Here is a quick list, far from comprehensive, from my personal observations. They probably do not apply everywhere, too.
Don’t expect much of a personal level of care
Even if you are sitting in an open space with 20 meters of visibility, few people actually will notice and acknowledge your presence. That is, if you are not a boss, or better, THE boss.
For sure, you are part of a larger “family” now, but it seems clear that one’s morning arrival to the office does not constitute a big event in the life of the company. Yet, a direct eye contact, a smile and some small talk would make the start of the day less dreadful for all.
No space for your nap
Unless you work for a visionary and enlightened company, or have an office in which you can seclude and ask for no disturbance, you will not be able to nap.
Simply mention napping and you will probably feel the collective peer pressure boomerang back in your face, with amused glazes, or jokes ridiculing you. Yet, countless studies have demonstrated the power of napping to re-boost humans and their productivity.
If you overcome the mindset roadblock, and pass the peer acceptance stage, then comes the logistic challenge: where and how to nap?
Head in arms on desk?
Uncomfortable, and in plain sight of the whole office: hard to relax. Yet there are such inventions as the ostrich pillow, but I’m not sure I’m ready yet to sport one.
Hiding in a meeting room? What if people come in for a spontaneous catch up and find you lying down in a corner?
Toilets? Too smelly, uncomfortable, and just gross in general.
Luckily, some places in business districts now offer power naps in a quiet setting – gotta try that.
I wish though that my company invests in a sleep pod from Podtime
, who has an incredible range.
|Podtime sleeping pod
Well, I could find a specialist napping space in Singapore and tried it for my 52 Weeks 52 Trials challenge
, so I guess there is always a possibility. Where there’s life, there’s hope!
Harder to concentrate
Everyone is busy, with different schedules, and therefore distractions are everywhere at all times: be it the report on your colleague’s latest shopping spree, or athletic colleagues challenging each other on their latest best running speed, you’re in for a treat.
I guess that’s part of the open space concept, as sometimes you are drawn in interesting or fun chats too, that brighten your day. Anyway, coming from a start-up where I worked alone, I found the permanent noise hard to cope with, and focusing on a single task more than 20 minutes at a time was really an achievement in my first weeks.
Actually 25 minutes is all that is needed to work with the Pomodoro technique
, so I now use an app called ClearFocus
to break my office time into productive chunks.
Your badge is your key to your office world, and a must for office security, but also your curse, since your managers will probably monitor your office hours at some point, betrayed by your first check-in and check-out times of the day.
I even met a guy who told me he usually comes earlier to the office to check-in, then goes out for breakfast and make up for his early arrival, so that he looks like he’s the first to check-in.
I know, this is insane, and sad.
He does the same in the evening with dinner sometimes, or if he happens to walk or drive past his office: he would simply go check in and out to clock in a few extra hours in the machine. True story.
Chances are you will need an authorization from your boss or colleague-in-charge for very basic tasks. You better integrate some red tape buffer time into your planning for a project, or before committing to reply to a customer…
From personal experience, you might be selling a rather technical software, but still need to have your manager sign up a form for you to burn a CD…
No one will ch
eck what’s on the CD but it does not matter, that’s the rule… :@
Who the hell is doing this?
A whole week and a dozen of emails to find who is editing an invoice…
In the meantime, my customer is waiting and I look like the lazy guy who just skipped an email.
The power of the brand, and its structured processes. Or is it?
Large companies are most able to capitalize on previous successes and adapt their internal processes to convert every opportunity into cash. More often than not, large companies have the luxury of having time to reflect and position themselves strategically on the market before they make a move.
They also enjoy a much larger power to reach out for feedback from the market, which will also be curious to see what the big outfit has to offer, before, often times choosing it out of a sense of security. Ironically sometimes, it seems that all logic and common sense is left out of the decision-making process, be it because of rigid company policies and routines, external obligations, past practices…
In a large company, inertia can be heavy, and few dare to try to evolve the organisational mindset. That’s simply because it is risky to do so: few people will risk backing you up, whilst some unscrupulous and calculating individual will be tempted to contradict your bold thinking and affirm themselves as the gate keeper and pillar of the company’s history and success in front of management. Then, you appear as the risk-taking, destructive rebel to the cause, and you loose: that’s in office politics 101.
Continuous learning, and mobility opportunities
Free publications and industry magazines, free learning videos and books summaries, e-learning modules, seminars out of office or abroad. It is good to feel supported and that your organisation cares for your personal growth and learning.
Also, the fact that it has offices around the world might give you the opportunity to make a move when you are bored of your current city, and/or to migrate to a role that suits you more and makes you more happy, without having to make radical resignation decision and put you at risk financially.
Free food and drinks, Cleanliness
Adding to the perks of having a central business location surrounded by many food choices, your MNC company will surely delight you with free coffee (even Nespresso quality!) and tea. In addition, some training will be organised at lunch time and lunch served, saving you a few extra dollars each month…
In my company, we also have a fruity day, free flow crackers and biscuits, ice cream afternoon breaks, etc… Whilst this will sound the bare minimum to most people who have only worked in large groups, I am sure many coming from small cost-cutting enterprises will relate to this perk.
Also, and I am being serious here, not every company has the cash to get an office maid, making sure your toilets are spotless, your coffee cups cleaned regularly, your desk wiped and regularly disinfected, … In smaller settings, you could have had to do some of this chores yourself.
As a man previously performing its office duties in an industrial/wholesale type of business districts, I can tell you that moving to a wealthy business district makes a big change on a daily basis for your retina.
Office bombshells walking in heels at every corner of the neighborhood, manicured grounds around the business towers, and in general, sharp looking people surrounding you at all times can be really stimulating. It’s an often overlooked perk of working for a large company with judiciously located premises.
Salary is coming. On time.
And so does the reimbursement of your travel and business expenses, your health insurance claims, etc…