Ask HN: What is the most unnecessary thing that your workplace requires?

8 points | by robalni 12 days ago


  • shahbaby 12 days ago
    Work from office and not just any office.

    Work from the most expensive and congested area of the city.

    Not only is it unnecessary, I'm sure it also raises attrition, lowers productivity and harms the planet.

  • omosubi 12 days ago
    Performance reviews - a director where I work said he started using gpt3 to write them. Basically most companies only do them because of legal requirements
    • Jugurtha 12 days ago
      Someone asked me at the end of the year if we'll have a performance review. My reaction was "why would I ever do that?". He said "for feedback and all..". I said "well, we've been doing that for years with our daily conversations" and cited a few instances of remarks and suggestions to refine our machine that he and I made. While making coffee and you tell me "do you think it'd be better if we did X" or "what do you think of Y" and then we try that for some time and then refine it? That's feedback and optimisation and tweaking. When I see your implementation of something and how it eliminated a whole family of problems and say it's cool and let's try that for other things and it works or vice versa? That's feedback and optimisation.

      He said that his friends at other companies are going through them and he figured we'd be doing that as well. I explained to him why it doesn't make any sense in our situation.

      Yes, for one specific person, I had to wait for about a year to assess because the period of the observed thing was that long and I had to take seasonality into account, but other than that, no thanks. When I talked with the person, the person said they meant to talk to me about it and ask for help but they couldn't muster the courage. But I had to wait and not react because the observed process was slow and I had to have a large time window to get enough data.

      Then again, maybe my background in control theory and feedback systems prevents me from doing annual performance reviews because they don't make sense to me, and being human prevents me from engaging in a practice that maximizes passive aggressive resentful behavior.

      In my opinion, doing the annual thing may be robbing everyone of a year of growth to the power of the number of entities involved. If you have a system made of subsystems who depend on each other's inputs and outputs, it would be insanity not to correct as early as possible, but not earlier to account for hysteresis and all.

  • yellow_lead 12 days ago
    My old workplace: Require installing antivirus on linux machines. Part of the setup required disabling SELinux.
  • Rackedup 12 days ago
    Tends to be stuff that used to be a good idea, and out of habit, they stick with it (sorry no concrete examples).
  • EddieDante 12 days ago
    Being a developer, I have yet to attend a status meeting that couldn't have been handled over email.
    • tra3 12 days ago
      I feel like there’s gotta be a minimum face to face communication threshold for remote teams..a status meeting is a good reason for that. In the olden days when everything was in person meeting, I’d totally agree.
      • rolfeb 12 days ago
        I totally agree. With everyone work remotely (in my teams), there's huge scope for becoming isolated and disconnected. We have a daily status meeting, but it is specifically set up so that the 50% of the time is for talking shit.

        When you check in with how you're going, you're allowed to say anything except "Good". "Good" means you didn't think about your answer...

        • EddieDante 12 days ago
          > "Good" means you didn't think about your answer...

          Bullshit. I gave my answer plenty of thought, and came to the conclusion that, "Mind your own business. Let's focus on work." would be counterproductive.

      • EddieDante 12 days ago
        Zoom with video on isn't face to face.

        Neither is a conference call.

        Face to face only makes sense when everybody is working in the same location, not when they're scattered across the width of a continent, and to me face to face isn't worth the hassle of commuting when I don't get paid for the time, expense, and risk to life and limb that driving to work entails.