Uhhh, I’m Working From Home

Where do you stand on telecommuting? It’s all the rage. But there’s a lot of debate.

When is it okay to allow employees to work from home?

Those who support telecommuting insist they don’t pay people to hold down a desk. Working from home saves driving into the office and allows employees to focus, without distractions.

I lived in Seattle when a fledgling start-up called Microsoft opened their doors. Bill Gates broke the 9-to-5 mold by enticing software developers with flex hours. He said, “As long as you deliver the work on schedule, it’s all good.”

Maybe not his exact words. But Microsoft attracted top performers who wanted that work-life balance.

As the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer shut down telecommuting, saying that ‘less personal contact with coworkers hinders communication. Things are more prone to fall through the cracks and it’s more difficult for managers to supervise someone working from home.’

Let’s be honest. Offices can be distracting. But so can your home. So, what’s best?

Here’s My Take. In his bestseller Megatrends, John Naisbitt coined the phrase ‘high-tech, high-touch’. We’re torn between embracing technology and escaping it. Sure, we’re wired by phones, e-mail, and Skype. But, have we sacrificed some human connection?

For telecommuting to work, it must be baked into the company’s culture with a clear understanding of what’s expected. It can be a terrific option for researchers, graphic designers, code writers and people who tend to work alone.

That said, telecommuting is not for everyone. Managers must be in the office to handle the inevitable fires that break out. Same for doctors and convenience store workers.

Still, nothing beats face time. Social interaction is the bedrock of a healthy office culture.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347   

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