The colour of Neil’s sofa had merged into the colour of the wall behind. My chart said gamboge, an orange to brown gum resin from south-east Asian trees of the Saint-John’s-wort family. It is used as a yellow pigment and cathartic. I always think of Neil as cathartic.
I was talking to him on Skype. He was at home and I was at Spennymoor. Gamboge is the colour of Skype.
Now I’ve never been a huge fan of video conferencing. I’ve never really understood the benefit of seeing someone over just hearing them. I suppose you feel that you are more in the meeting and you can pick up on some body language and facial expression but this is somewhat dampened by the camera quality, package loss and the general gamboge ambience.
I’ll leave the relative merits of video conferencing to another blog however.
What I wanted to talk about was the reason for my Skype call. For reasons too long to go into I now have someone reporting to me who works from home, at least in part. I have manged people across distance for much of my management career and have often employed people who worked from home on the odd occasion. This is the first time though that I have an official home worker amongst my immediate reportees. I have embraced modern ways of working!
Here is a situation in which I think being able to see the person helps. It feels more like a discussion rather than a phone call. We can talk as we would if we were opposite each other, or at least have a good stab at it. I have always said that there is no real substitute for face to face conversations yet, in the circumstances, this is the next best thing.
Apart from the gamboge that is.