We live in a culture in which our smartphones are never far from our grubby little hands. As a result, work is always close too. The temptation to make sure nothing has gone horribly awry is caved to on Saturday birthday parties and weeknight dinners out. In many offices, it’s expected that you’re plugged in at most times.
The one upside to this shift in our work culture is the precious work from home privilege. When work is everywhere, it seems only fair that sometimes one should be able to work offsite. Unless, of course, you work at Yahoo!, where CEO Marissa Mayer just called her scattered employees back to the cubicle by eliminating working from home.
Cue the shitshow.
Some people a hurling some pretty nasty adjectives Mayer’s way. Others are a little more cautious, figuring that Mayer saw something in the culture that needed fixing, hence the drastic action. To me, a one-size fits all approach to how employees work isn’t a long-term solution. If this is an exercise to cull the individuals who are doing more laundry and Downton Abbey catch-up than actual work, you can expect Mayer to allow the privilege to come back once productivity is back where she’d like to see it. But, of course, she can’t tell anyone that now. Even if it says DO NOT FORWARD on the email.
Being able to do my job at home is awesome. When it’s about to dump 30″ of snow on my city, it’s great to know I can do what needs to be done from my couch. If I’m sick, I do what I can without going in and sharing my germs with my coworkers. But isolation is tolerable for only so long. I’m always grateful to get back into the office and hear more about what’s going on. It keeps me in the loop, which is critical.
A friend of mine works at a company that allows one day a week to work from home. While she’s catching up without those frequent office interruptions (some of which lead to inspiration, but are mostly just annoying), she’s also doing laundry and chores in between tasks. It’s a way to recapture some of that time we lose to the weekend check-in. I hope Yahoo! gets back to balance in the future.