Webinars - Featured Articles

November 12, 2013

Webinar - Keep Annoying Office Mates Out of Sight with Video Conferencing

One of the great fun points about the Dilbert comic strip is reading about all the different dysfunctional personalities that seem to roam the offices of the world, noting how many of said personalities seem familiar, and saying, oh yeah, I remember that guy or girl. From Loud Howard to Patty the Amplifier and Distorter, there were as many strange personalities as there were characters. Five of these seem to make appearances in the regular work environment more than others, and there's one great way to work around these characters: telecommuting.

There are several office archetypes that can make the world an unpleasant place, according to Time etc founder Barnaby Lashbrooke, who recently described these characters to the U.K.'s “Management Today.” First was the Unscrupulous Usurper, a sneaky sort who was not only willing to backstab coworkers, but also was willing to take credit for coworkers' ideas. The closest Dilbert equivalent here would be, likely, the Idea Squirrel, a humanoid squirrel who steals the ideas of co-workers and treats the victim like a nut for suggesting that the idea ever belonged to someone else.

Next is the Churlish Chomper, who boasts shades of Dilbert's Wally but on a much more frequent basis. With eating at one's desk becoming more in vogue as a way to reduce the chances of being fired, the Chomper fails to appreciate that some foods do not smell good to everyone, but believes, not without some merit, that it's largely the Chomper's choice of what to have for lunch.

Then follows the Slothful Slacker (News - Alert), a much closer analogue for Wally. The Slothful Slacker's goal is simple: do not get fired. Everything else is secondary, including doing the work that would be necessary to prevent a firing. Passing bucks, clever obfuscations, asking a host of questions in meetings to avoid detection and outright hiding are the Slacker's tools of the trade.

Then there's the Force Feeder, a person without an immediately recognizable Dilbert equivalent. Said Feeder loves baking and the like, and enjoys seeing people enjoy the baked goods brought by said Feeder...to the point where said Feeder will even derive a kind of sadistic pleasure from the victims' overindulgence. The Force Feeder, meanwhile, is rarely seen eating the treats in question.

Finally, there is a creation of the modern era, the Secret Agent. This faceless, nameless corporate cipher has taken all the warnings about social media to heart...perhaps excessively so. No one knows if the Secret Agent is married, has kids, or anything like that. There are no expressions of the Secret Agent's hobbies or political leanings or anything else on Facebook (News - Alert) or any other social media, not even a picture for extra protection. The Secret Agent avoids social events with the kind of fervor normally reserved for pools of boiling acid.

While the Secret Agent may not be bad to work with—at least he or she will shut up and let people work in peace—the rest are often difficult. For small business owners, finding and replacing these people can be an expensive nightmare. That's why some, like Barnaby Lashbrooke, are instead recommending ending the office altogether and focusing on telecommuting. An upcoming Arkadin webinar, “Industry-Leading Video Conferencing for Better Workforce Productivity,” can provide some extra help on how to make the move to telecommuting, and thus remove some of these personality issues from the office. It's a useful program, and with some proper monitoring, telecommuting can be as productive—maybe even more so—than regular commuting.

Edited by Alisen Downey