The Remote Working Debate Continues March 14th, 2013
The internet is awash with differing opinions about remote working, showing many businesses are divided in their views on the subject. This heated discussion was sparked by a leaked memo by Yahoo informing employees that remote working would be banned from June of this year.
The internal memo said: “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.”
Despite the advancements in remote working in recent years, Yahoo are not alone in their dislike. Google are also against teleworking, saying that they like the number of employees working away from the office to be “as few as possible”. Chief Financial Officer of Google Patrick Pichette explained the anti-remote working mind-set, saying: “There is something magical about sharing meals. There is something magical about spending the time together, about noodling on ideas, about asking at the computer ‘What do you think of this?’”
The remote working fan club
Not all big bosses are dismissing teleworking, with Richard Branson leading the way for those who think remote working should become a part of daily work life. The entrepreneur called the Yahoo memo a “backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever.”
International Video conference giants Powwownow also commented upon the memo, saying: “To hear a company such as Yahoo is now not allowing its staff to remote work comes across as a backwards (and frankly regressive) move. It seems inconceivable that in this day and age you’d turn your back on new technologies and work practices that have been adopted by your peers.”
The truth about working from home
There is a cultural attitude towards remote working which has been reflected by these comments by Yahoo and Google. Many feel that working from home results in a lazy attitude and a drop in work quality. Many fear they may be overlooked for promotion and bonuses if they do not show their face around the office, and will work much longer and much harder than is necessary to ‘make up’ for being outside of the office.
However, with 59% of employers now offering remote working, it is likely many will eventually work from home for at least a proportion of their working week.
There are many benefits to telecommuting which make it an effective form of working, and with the advancements in technologies developing rapidly, it has almost made the word ‘remote’ obsolete.
These benefits can include:
- Improved performance
- Savings on expenses
- Improved quality
- Better life/work balance
- More environmentally friendly
- Improved productivity
We have had a fair bit of experience of this in the last few months. I, of course have been working from home exclusively for the last ten years. In the last six months my husband has been allowed or even encouraged to work from home one day a week. Unlike the stereotype – we do actually work – we set up joint workstations at the same table and have conversations while we both go about our respective occupations. The home working saves my husband about three hours commuting – some of that time he adds on to his working hours, and some he uses for rest and leisure.
We do go out to lunch together, and I guess my husband has a longer lunch hour with me than he does in his own office. But he also carries on working long after the children have gone to bed if he needs to – and that suits him – as an extreme night owl he has discovered that his most productive hours are often between 8pm and midnight. If he works from home, he uses those hours for work – if he works in the office his most productive hours are actually spent slobbing in front of the TV.
So we have to say after a six month trial of him home working that it works fantastically well, both for my husband and for his family. He is more productive and definitely happier.
Do you have experience of working from home for an employer? How is it for you?
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