Yahoo! people can no longer work from home. Marissa Mayer sure ripped the Band-Aid off of the work at home debate. OUCH. The debate cuts across gender and demographic lines. It cuts across creative and automaton lines. It cuts across those with children and those without lines. It cuts across slacker and workaholic lines. I doubt Marissa intended to be the flash point for the debate, but now the debate rages. Like Marissa, I don’t want to enter the debate but there are a few elements of the debate that have been missing – it’s the way telecommuting can help your career and improve the workplace. We do need to understand that perspective… so here we go:
Six Reasons to Telecommute for Your Career
(Assumes No Children Are Involved)
1. By calling in to staff meetings instead of showing up, people pay more attention to comments. The phone speaker in the middle of the table is usually more the center of attention than the others in the room.
2. Performance reviews can be easier. No doubt, you will be asked to write your own review since you weren’t around that much. Keep track of all those contributions and lay it on thick.
3. The home allows time for quiet concentration and creativity. One just needs to find a room with no TV, radio, photos, kids toys or distractions. If that room doesn’t exist, it is time to design the addition to the house. Eventually, you will work at home.
4. In the office, lots of websites are blocked. At home, the world is opened and some of those sites can be a source of inspiration.
5. Money will be saved on gas, tolls and car wear and tear. Cleaning bills will go down too by not eating in the car and spilling. It’s like giving yourself a raise. Plus, since you are not taking office space or using electricity, the company saves money.
6. Since there are no office politics or office gossip at home, you can rise above all the factors that waste time at work and be that much more productive. Unless you join in daily family dramas and gossip.
The debate about telecommuting will rage on. And there is merit to both sides of the debate. The numerator is flexibility, no wasting time for commuting, and self motivation. The denominator is collaboration, creativity and being a part of the larger enterprise. The memo circulated by Jackie Reses, Yahoo’s executive vice president of people and development, said “communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side” and “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” For now at Yahoo! she is probably right.
And, to paraphrase Woody Allen, “Even at work, 80% of life is showing up.”