Working from Home – To Be or Not To Be?

Work from home - to be or not to be?When @karaswisher from Allthingsd.com published a leaked memo on her twitter feed from Marissa Meyer @Yahoo I wonder if she knew how much press coverage this topic would get.

In the leaked memo, Meyer was asking all homeworking staff to begin coming into the office or face being out of a job. She cited the lack of opportunity to ‘bump into each other’ and have face-to-face meetings as reasons that were holding the Company back from collaborating and innovating.

 

Apparently, there has also been a culture of home workers taking advantage of not being in the office to under deliver, and this was also a way of Meyer trimming unwanted employees from her staff without having to lay them off or make them redundant.

 

The commentary both against home working and in favour of it has subsequently raged in the press and on social….

My initial response to the ‘Marissa Meyer memo’ was shock at this old-fashioned approach. The reality is that it has at least bought the topic to the fore for debate. Given what 16 years of working with the world’s leading brands in a 100% virtual, work at home model have taught Arise Virtual Solutions, that’s a discussion we want to have.

Arise contracts with independent business partners who primarily work from home. This allows Arise to have access to more diverse resources than that of a fixed office, limited by the people available within its commutable distance.

We find that independent business partners that work from home have a much more diverse range of skills and experience, that we can then pass those resources on to our clients, to truly serve customer needs – whether that be agents with personal experience of Diabetes helping patients with their condition, or accountants helping people fill in their tax returns, the world of the virtual worker creates significant advantages.

If you are thinking about home working as an organisation, don’t be put off by Yahoo’s policy – Just do your own homework. Look at what the analysts say and why Gartner is moving Homeworking towards mass adoption on their Hype cycle. Others at the Corporate Research Forum and The London School of Economics , London Business Schools and Harvard Business Review  all think this is something to explore. A blanket approach like Marissa Meyer’s will leave her having to make many exceptions, which smacks of using a process for other means. The reality is there is a place and time for having Homeworking as part of the mix if you consider the following:

 

  • Are the roles and workstreams suitable for homeworking?
  • What are the benefits/risks to the Organisation and or the individual?
  • Do you have (or can you adapt) the support tools & operational processes in place, to deliver productivity at home– these may need to differ from those used in the office
  • Are you prepared to learn how to communicate, engage and manage remotely if you don’t already?
  • Are the people who will be working from home self-starters who can work in that particular environment?  Can you trust them? Arise screen heavily to make sure not just the right skills are in place but that the personality of the individual is suited to home working.
  • Finally, work with experts and pilot homeworking if you are not sure.

 

Technology is advancing at lightening speed, and the days of the office commute are truly numbered as both employees and employers are now uncovering the myriad of advantages that HomeWorking creates. The antiquated views that this technology creates a barrier to collaboration and creativity, and that people cannot be trusted to deliver without physical supervision, contradicts the results produced by a whole host of leading companies the world over.

 

To hear more and for more support in this area,  why not come and see Arise working in conjunction with American Express & SquareTrade at the forthcoming European Customer Experience World conference? We are running a workshop on the benefits of virtual working and how to apply it to your business on 14-16th May – click here or contact Karin @corp_arise on twitter