February 27, 2013

What’s everyone’s issue with working from home?

play hoo

“A workplace should never be defined as where your desktop computer lives; it should be where your commitment does.”

“Working from home” always has a really stigma attached to it. Let’s be honest, people are normally like, “Ohhhh, working from home” are you? (Whilst doing those annoying air-quotation marks with their fingers). When someone sends you an email with the subject line ‘WFH’, you are secretly wishing you were at home too because you have so much washing to get done and you are a pro at typing whilst lying horizontally. And maybe you have a cat and you want to play with it instead of making small talk with colleagues in the kitchen.

But on a serious note: as our jobs become increasingly digital-focused and with ever evolving technology such as video conferencing with HD screens so big that you feel like you’re chatting with a giant in the room, we can basically work wherever our laptop is.

You don’t need to be anywhere permanently. You could be anywhere.

Gail Beck, a colleague of mine located in LA wrote a blog post about this, why it’s OK to work remotely, how we should be trusted to get the work done and how it makes us happier and more hard working if we feel trusted and appreciated at work. Your boss taking into consideration your life commitments is the biggest boost to your morale.

Gail argues against the CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer who controversially banned working from home at Yahoo! Here is a snippet from the email sent around by the HR department published on allthingsd.com last night.

Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Like Gail, I have to agree to disagree with Yahoo! on this one. I think we have come too far with technology to start regressing back to old rules of having to sit 5 days at an uncomfortable office desk. We’re busy people, we work with people from different countries and the world is getting in smaller. Places to be – people to see!

We don’t need to be sitting right next to each other to share updates and ideas every five seconds. I also don’t think the best ideas come from the ‘cafeteria’, it’s from working together accessibly and in a positive way.  

We even have WIFI on planes now for goodness sake. If we manage to work 15,000 ft in the air……… then I think we can also be trusted to work at our kitchen table too. Pyjamas or no pyjamas. I think working at a desk the whole time, grappling with a hideous commute, is quite old-fashioned. Pre-Internet behaviour.

What do you think?

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