On Feb. 25, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, announced that all employees working remotely must now work from an office. Then all hell broke loose. This decision has spurred conversations both for and against working remotely. Mayer has been portrayed in the media as a traitor to working mothers, especially since she brings her baby and nanny to work daily to a customized nursery she built with her own money. At Metzger, working remotely is only an option when necessary, but staff has strong opinions on both sides of the spectrum.
Three Pros to Working Remotely By Stephanie Vanderholm
No Wasted Commute Time. I remember fondly when I had a 15-minute journey to work for years. Ironically, this was in Los Angeles. If you are lucky enough to have never had a frustrating commute, this may be hard to understand. But when you spend an average of two to four hours a day in the car, sometimes longer depending on accidents or weather situations, it affects your entire day. Perhaps you arrive at the office angry before your day even starts. You have less sleep because you have to get up earlier for your commute. You miss exercise classes at the gym in the early evening. Forget making happy hour with your non-commuting friends. If you have to pick up kids from daycare, you may be frequently late to get them. The time you spend in the car is time that could be spent working and also relaxing more efficiently.
It’s Greener and Less Expensive. Having fewer cars on the road is healthier for the environment. Depending on what kind of car you drive, you can easily spend hundreds of dollars a month on gas because of your commute, your car may need more repairs and you will be putting on lots of miles.
Valuable Employees Can Produce Results from Anywhere. I’m a firm believer in cutting dead weight from the office. If you are an unproductive person, you can be unproductive in an office. Or a coffeeshop. We all know the office worker who chats the day away with their friends, spends nine hours in the office and never seems to produce results. If someone is an underperformer, I firmly believe that they will behave that way in any environment. Results speak for themselves, and people who frequently work from home end up spending more hours working as a whole. People should be judged on their productivity and results, not on how much time they spend sitting in a cubicle. I’m not the kind of person that wants to work from home every day. I don’t have a home office, and I enjoy the social interactions in the office and the camaraderie that comes from carpooling with my friends. But I think telecommuting is the future of work, and flexibility in the workplace is not only important for parents, it’s very important for the younger generations. Employers will miss out on hiring exceptional talent if they remain regimented in their thinking on telecommuting because the workplace has changed.
Three Cons to Working Remotely By Jill Thompson
Lack of Office Amenities. When working remotely, I often feel paralyzed without my to-do list that resides right next to my computer on my desk, the printer at Bluetooth-length from my computer and a study desk/chair that is the perfect height for typing. Besides the “things,” the office is very much a state of mind for me. The office is for work and my apartment is to relax. Combining the two worlds makes both less effective in their purpose.
Lack of Social Collaboration. This is one that can be argued for both points. While social interaction can help spur creative ideas, I understand it can lead to distraction as well. For me, I like working on projects in person, and explaining assignments by showing. Also, I feel that I work better with people when we have daily interaction. As for the lack of social collaboration when working remotely, I directly relate to The Oatmeal comic, “Working From Home is Both Awesome and Horrible.”
I Struggle at Home, Therefore I Think Everyone Else Does. Call me naïve, but I assume that if I get distracted by the TV, sleep in late and eat 12 meals a day while working at home, everyone else does, too. There are just too many distractions. I live in a small apartment where I am five feet from my bed, my TV and my fridge at all times – the three most detrimental distractions. I understand that this isn’t true for everyone, and that others work well alone. My main point is that I work better in the office with others. I crave collaboration and social interaction as part of my job. I also understand that these points are specific to me, my needs and my work style, and that people flourish differently under their own unique circumstances. What are your thoughts on Mayer’s announcement?