What do you think of Yahoo’s policy of no longer allowing employees to work from home? I am a bit shocked. I worked from home for over eight years and, I can tell you, I was way more productive than I would have ever been if I was in the office. I will tell you why:
- Fewer distractions. I was able to focus on what I needed to accomplish, be dialed into conference calls and meetings as needed, and have the quiet space for the true work I needed to do each day.
- No wasted meetings. If I was on a conference call, and the part of the call had nothing to do with my job, I could put my phone on mute and handle other work. When the meeting focus came to my area, I could unmute my phone and participate. That is hard, if nearly impossible, to do when you are in the office.
- No time wasted traveling to and from work. I worked longer hours when I worked from home. I also had more “me” time, felt more focused, did not have to waste time on what to wear that day, commuting, going out to lunch. In the end, I was more focused by having my dedicated office space at home.
Working from home is not for everyone. As someone who worked from home and managed a team of employees who also worked from home, there is a respect and privilege that comes from working from home. It means that you do not abuse the unique opportunity for others. I always looked at what I and my team were able to do as trendsetting for the future. If we could make it work, it could mean that others in the future might have the option for a similar opportunity. It also means that the manager has to be aware of what it is like for that at-home worker, and they have to manage differently than you would in the office. You do not have the face-time you have in the office, so you have to be creative in order to connect with employees in different ways.
Based on the experience I had, it shocks me that a company that has already been receiving a bit of a bad rap in the news lately would go backwards in time to not allow employees to work from home. It feels like a decision based on fear. Rather than trusting employees and setting up a system of accountability, it seems like they are removing that trust and bringing everyone back into the office. It is like not trusting your kids to drive on their own when they get a license. Eventually, they have to make their own mistakes and learn from them.
An interesting side note: In the article I linked to above, it says that Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) has built a nursery in her office. Seriously? That will not bode well from a PR perspective. Consumers and customers will roll their eyes and find that just maybe this is all a double standard.
What do you think?