The Boss Is ‘In’

By Pamela A. Scott

It is true that what once was old is now new again. The business buzz these days is about setting office hours.

You remember when you were in college. The professors had certain hours that they committed to being in their office and available for you to stop by. If you needed to talk to a professor, your best chance came during his office hours.

Now company execs are setting office hours for when they will be available for employees and office hours for when they are available for their customers.

The topic is hot enough that Harvard Business Review featured it in a guest blog by Bill Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company magazine.

Jason Fried, founder of Chicago productivity software firm 37 signals, is available for two hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. He sits in his office and takes calls from customers.

One person asked him how he handled the crush of calls. Fried replied that he took the calls as they came in and didn’t rely on call waiting.

How old is this “new” idea?

George Goethals was one of the chief engineers on the Panama Canal, which opened in 1914. Supposedly, each Sunday Goethals would meet with anyone involved with the construction of the canal. He would sometimes see upwards of 100 people in a day.

As a footnote, the Canal was finished more than a year ahead of its target date. Let’s hear it for open communication.

One Response to “The Boss Is ‘In’”

  1. Jerry Quinn says:

    Great idea! Let’s hear it for good old fashion work ethics!!!
    Imagine actually answering the phone. I always had an open door policy on the projects I managed and the team results showed it.

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