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 email 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.”
Video Conferencing experts 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.
Once the social myth surrounding remote working is dispelled, the benefits will more than outweigh any disadvantages. The money which can be saved on premises cost will surely become a huge incentive for employers, while employees will happily enjoy the benefits of saving money on travel.
Teleworking, when implemented correctly, results in a relaxed working environment in which employees are more likely to produce a higher standard of work and experience an improved productivity level.
As more and more businesses embrace remote working, Yahoo may need to eat their words and accept that remote working just makes sense.
What about you: would you embrace remote working or reject it at your workplace?
Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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I work for American Fidelity Assurance Company and we offer a telecommuting program. We have about 670 colleagues who work remotely at least once a week, out of about 1500 employees. Some positions, such as field sales and some customer service positions, work from home full time while others work remotely 1-3 times a week. We’ve seen an increase in productivity and morale since implementing the program and it’s helping reduce the amount of physical space we need dedicated to work stations.
As with most things, I find myself in the “everything in moderation” camp. I don’t think employees are “entitled” to work from home just because we have computer-based office jobs, I do think it’s a luxury and up to the employer. But I think smart employers see why it’s a great idea to incorporate telecommuting as part of their business model.
If telecommuting is condensed to one set day per week, think of the productivity gains the entire company could have by not being bogged down by meetings for just one day. Think of the savings the business could enjoy on electricity, water, etc. and the impact they could have on the environment by pulling that many cars off the road for a day.
But on the flip-side of that, human interaction is crucial and working from home 100% of the time doesn’t always make sense. My current employer very graciously let me telecommute for nearly 8 months until I could move to the city, and it made it possible for me to take the position immediately, which I really appreciated. But I found after 8 months that I was losing my ability to interact with people, and my grip on reality. I was very grateful to return to the office full-time, and my productivity shot up when I could get answers fast just by turning around my chair and asking my colleagues questions directly or get in a conference room and have a quick meeting to hash it out.
I find that 1 day per week is the perfect amount for me to work from home without meetings/interruptions and crank out important projects, but the rest of the time I prefer to be away from home and near my colleagues in person.
After going into an office for 15 years, I got a job in which I worked remotely, 3 days a week. Wow, what a difference in productivity on the telecommuting days! Way more productive because I’m not getting constantly pulled into meetings, discussions, etc..also, I find we email each other or call each other for questions and answers when we are in the office anyway, so what’s the difference? Colleagues shut their door so as not to be disturbed when they are busy, so why be there physically? It seems everyone prefers email and/or phonecalls. I am able to hop on the computer and begin working right away in the morning as opposed to an hour later drive time, and I can continue working after hours since I am home already. Face time happens at weekly meetings, and when I go out and do sales calls. Its really a no-brainer because employers spend less money in overhead costs for employees, too.
Also, a big bonus is that I am not involved in any office drama and politics…I can just do my job.