Friday, March 8, 2013

Is working from home always better?

There's been lots of talk in the blogosphere about Marissa Mayers decision to tell Yahoo! employees to stop working from home. Hey, even Yahoo! employees were/are discussing it on the web.
James Robertson wrote up a nice post about this decision and also pointed to the fact that Google seems to be like-minded to Yahoo! when it comes to working from home. Also interesting is what he says about the implications of this kind of news for 'the digital workplace'.

One of the things I like about the discussion is that we have to rethink why we like/dislike working from home. And that's one of the things I miss in the discussion about tele-work. Of course commenters rightly wonder what this Yahoo! statement means with respect to trusting employees to decide for themselves where they can get their work done.
However, isn't it also OK to discuss what the pro's and con's of tele-work are. Is working from home always the best way to go?
In my experience with working from home, some types of work are great to do from home and some are great to do in the train or at the office. I know from talks with others that my experiences relate to many. For instance I find it very hard to write reports and read longer documents and books at the office. There are simply too many disruptions there. I know this does not go for everybody. But isn't this something to discuss. Along with things we personally have to get done, there are also joint task we have to get done together. How are we going to get that done when working from home and/or the office?
As Mark Morrell says in a comment to the above-mentioned post (I'm rephrasing him a bit): in the end it comes down to trusting employees to decide when and where they can get things done. Sometimes this is at home, sometimes this is at work. True. My point is: we decide this for ourselves and we decide about this together with colleagues.

I'm curious what your thoughts are on this topic. Please share them as a comment.

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