Obviously I'm completely biased because the concept of workshifting is one that I firmly believe in and I write about quite often. As long as I have an Internet connection I can work from anywhere in the world. The technology continues to improve and make this even easier.
That is why when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer decided that working from home was no longer an option for their employees it gave me pause.
Even though I love working from anywhere, I do know that there are times when being together physically is important. Getting the creative juices flowing and brainstorming a new idea/campaign is harder when not in the same room. It is possible, but it is harder in my experience. But, when you want to make it work, you make it work.
Her statement that, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home" doesn't make sense to me. If it isn't working inside of Yahoo perhaps there are other problems that are causing it, but where someone physically works probably isn't the root issue.
Not everyone can be productive working outside of an office. It takes a special level of discipline and dedication to succeed at it.
That is why every company should have guidelines for remote workers and all managers need to make sure that their workers are delivering (in or out of the office). But, don't ever think that just because someone is in a cube and you can see them, that they are automatically getting the job done. It is just as easy to screw off, get distracted and do anything but work inside of an office as it is out.
What gets me the most though is that so many companies are already scared of embracing the shift to workshifting and this will be a big set back. When a company as large and high-tech as Yahoo says their employees can't do it, it is going to make it harder for the worker to push for this in their own company.
Every parent out there knows how hard it is to balance maintaining a career and a family. As a new parent herself I had hoped Ms. Mayer would lead by example and not cut off her workforce like this.
Last year I wrote The Working Parent's Guide to Working From Home for Citrix to help companies and employees figure out how to find the balance. Now thanks to the Yahoo effect, parents everywhere are going to have to go back to square one in many cases.
Companies need to realize that working from home is good for them. It allows employees to work at odd hours, when they are sick or numerous other reasons. It cuts down on commuting, office requirements and costs. If your employees can't get the job done then you've got a human resources problem, not a workshifting problem.
I don't know what is going on inside of Yahoo and they've got obvious issues that need to be fixed. I just wish they hadn't made this decision because it seems completely short sighted to me in today's hyper-connected world.
What do you think?