Aug 03, 2011 • By

A globe hopping engineer

In addition to earning a reputation as a true globe hopper, General Mills engineering project manager Steve Tsoulfanidis has no office. While he lives in St. Louis, he’s based in Minneapolis. But it’s his laptop – not a desk or name plate – that determines his workspace.

Steve is one of a growing number of General Mills employees who are so mobile, they’re without a desk.

As a capital projects manager, Steve travels the globe. One week he’ll be Mexico, the next in Illinois, then it’s off to California, Canada or Europe. Steve figures he’s on the road 70 percent of the time – much of that time he’s connected to the Internet. “As long as I have access to a wireless connection, I’m able to work anywhere in the world,” he says.

Our progressive approach to workplace flexibility allows Steve to live in St. Louis while working for General Mills in Minneapolis. He is just one of an increasing number of General Mills employees who use flexible work arrangements that range from compressed workweeks to working from remote places. In all cases, performance is measured by results, not by time in the office.

Steve’s arrangement works because he’s self-guided and disciplined – he’s constantly communicating with his co-workers about what he’s doing and where he’s going. It also works because his job requires him to be flexible, available and in touch 24/7.

“I spend a lot of my time with my computer reviewing documents, writing projects, approving invoices, approving time and managing cash flow,” he says.

When he’s in Minneapolis each month, he makes a point of visiting co-workers face to face. He officially shares a desk at the James Ford Bell Technical Center with another employee with a flexible work arrangement, but he’s rarely there.

“In fact, one manager told me that he sees me more than he sees folks actually based in Minnesota,” says Steve. “In general, I make it a point to over-communicate to make sure my teams know where I am and what I’m working on at all times.”

Steve loves many things about living in Missouri – including the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. “Missouri has always been home to me,” he says. “I’m grateful to be in a work situation that allows me to do what I’m good at, while living in the place I love. “

Steve is happy, and we benefit by retaining a sought-after professional and proven employee.