Thursday 28 February 2013

Working from home

So the new CEO of Yahoo Marisa Mayers, wants to stop all working from home. We should applaud her for having a baby and returning to work in no time at all.
Sorry, what was I writing....we should be appalled that she had a baby and returned to work in no time at all! Mind you, I'm sure she has a help with the kid, something that's not available to all people with Yahoo.
Of course, if she improved access to childcare (either onsite or with flexible working) then that's a different matter. Then I would go back to applauding her.
In the days I worked in the technology industry, I used to feel it was something hated by HR staff, or by  managers who didn't trust their staff, or those who felt their importance was measured by the size of their teams and so had to be visible to all (trophy designers...I like that!) were the ones who were not keen on working from home. It doesn't suit all industries nor all people...some people like structure of the office rather than having the  discipline  to work from home. I didn't want to do it all the time as designs ideas benefit from being bounced off colleagues (and even the odd sofware engineers) and yes, I do agree with the Yahoo CEO that a meeting can be a lot quicker when it's done face to face. But when you had to concentrate on something and had to have a deadline to meet, working in an open plan office with constant interruptions was not ideal.
Then there is the costs to think about - transports costs for your staff getting to work or getting to other offices for that face to face meeting, office costs for housing them all, meeting room space that has to be found. I used to resent the travel time to work as it was less time get stuck into work. And at the end of the day, resented the time to get home and have a life. And while meetings can be faster face to face, there is also the lost time wasted  chitchatting which I found did not happen as much in remote working.
I wonder how the policy will play out. I know that HR managers around the world must be dancing with glee in the hope that the policy sticks.