After a couple of days in which I'm glad we keep bourbon in the 10th Magnitude office, Scott Hanselman's examination of working remotely seems timely:
I see this ban on Remote Work at Yahoo as one (or all) of these three things:
- A veiled attempt to trim the workforce through effectively forced attrition by giving a Sophie's Choice to remote workers that management perceives as possibly not optimally contributing. It's easy to avoid calling it a layoff when you've just changed the remote work policy, right?
- A complete and total misstep and misunderstanding of how remote workers see themselves and how they provide value.
- Pretty clear evidence that Yahoo really has no decent way to measure of productivity and output of a worker.
All this said, it's REALLY hard to be remote. I propose that most remote workers work at least as hard, if not more so, than their local counterparts. This is fueled in no small part by guilt and fear. We DO feel guilty working at home. We assume you all think we're just hanging out without pants on. We assume you think we're just at the mall tweeting. We fear that you think we aren't putting in a solid 40 hours (or 50, or 60).
Because of this, we tend to work late, we work after the kids are down, and we work weekends. We may take an afternoon off to see a kid's play, but then the guilt will send us right back in to make up the time. In my anecdotal experience, remote workers are more likely to feel they are "taking time from the company" and pay it back more than others.
I like working from home when I have a lot of creative or intense work to do, but generally I prefer working in the office. I've also been thinking about the compromise solution of moving to within, say, 500 meters of the office, so I can get home in 5 minutes if I need to.
Meanwhile...back to work.