This week has brought the news that Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has put on a ban on her employees working from home. In a bid to boost productivity, speed and quality at the struggling tech giant, this move has naturally sparked debate about whether or not more offices should follow suit.
Is Mayer right to put a restriction on remote working or will this shift away from telecommuting achieve nothing more than antagonise valuable staff?
The case for the ban
No matter how hard an employee works, when they are based from home their manager will always assume that a certain amount of skiving is taking place. Although a remote worker could be far more productive than an office based employee, it may go unnoticed which could delay promotions and pay rises.
Working from home can actually hinder employees without them even realising it. Whilst they may complete their jobs to the highest possible standard, the close contact that comes from working in an office helps staff to make contacts that can boost their careers in the future. The best way to get noticed in a company is to be seen and heard – something that is very difficult to achieve when working remotely.
Many teams, especially the more creative departments massively benefit from being around each other every day. Being able to share ideas, impart knowledge and brainstorm new ideas is a crucial part of everyday working life that benefits both employers and employees.
Despite the stereotype, those who work from home frequently find that they are always working. With no fixed start or finish times, remote workers often find themselves working long into the night. As well as creating additional pressure for themselves, stress levels are likely to rise as well as resentment because working long hours from home commonly goes unnoticed.
Having the odd day working from home can be very enjoyable but regularly being isolated from others can be very detrimental. As well as lack of interaction, staff can start to feel secluded which is likely to affect their motivation and overall happiness.
The case against the ban
Allowing employees to get on with things at home can drastically help to reduce real estate costs. Alternating days in the office between employees means that fewer desks and office equipment is needed and overheads can be cut down.
Being trusted to work from home can help employees to feel that they are a valuable member of staff. Knowing that their manager has confidence in them to complete the required work properly and on time can help to increase motivation and long term loyalty.
Remote working can greatly increase productivity amongst workers because commuting time is completely reduced. An employee who has had to sit in rush hour traffic or on an over-crowded train for an hour every morning is going to be much more stressed than someone who can simply walk into a different room and turn on a laptop.
With the vast majority of families requiring both partners to work full time, a great way for any company to attract top talent is to offer flexible working. This is a massive benefit to many and can even be the deciding factor when debating whether or not to accept a job offer. Even for those who don’t have young children to look after, flexi hours and the opportunity to work from home every once in a while is always viewed as a massive perk.
Believe it or not, there can actually be fewer distractions at home than there are in the office. It can be easy to get side-tracked in a busy environment, lots of noise can affect concentration and office politics and gossip is a given in any company. Remote working can eliminate all of this which can be a huge benefit if an employee has an important deadline to meet.
What do you think about remote working? As an employer do you like your staff where you can see them or are you happy for them to work from home as long as they get the work done? As an employee do you think you’re more productive working from home or do you find yourself watching TV all day? Let us know your thoughts below.