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Thursday 28 February 2013

In praise of home working...I think.

There's probably been enough said about Marissa Meyer's decision to ban Yahoo employees from working from home...but the subject is one close to my heart and has been niggling away at me ever since I came across it.

Yes, I work from home. Originally a couple of days a week, but for the past year or so on pretty much a full-time basis. This coincided with both a change in role, and the redundancy of a number of former "work coffee buddies". Not one person I work with on a day to day basis is now based in the same country, let alone the same office as me. As long as I have a phone and a computer, it does not matter where I am when I want to talk to someone in Milan or Mumbai. I can relax at home, in comfort, without the stress of the commute, and still have time to do the school run. This way, my employer also squeezes a couple of extra hours out of me a week.

Sounds perfect, right? In many ways it is.

However, if I'm completely honest, it's the lack of familiar and friendly faces in my office any more that is the main thing that keeps me at home. Going into an office and no longer seeing people you know very quickly gets disheartening. Soon you end up going in less and less often, which means less contact with those who are still left, thus creating a vicious circle of "strangerdom".

Now, the thought of going into an office and effectively being a stranger fills me with dread. The thing is, if I look at it objectively, it probably is holding me back. I'm starting to feel more detached from my current employer, but the flexibility afforded by working from home is a big reason why I didn't look for another job a long time ago. Swings and roundabouts.

If I therefore look at Marissa Meyer's edict, I'm torn between being completely outraged that she could take away something that has a lot of benefits to individuals - especially working parents. However, deep down I secretly also understand her reasoning. Seeing colleagues face to face on a daily basis does help you share a special kind of camaraderie that you don't get over the phone, email or instant messaging. Yes, I miss that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Because that's what we home workers do.

Fuelled by caffeine and conference calls

P.S. If you're reading this on a mobile device, and you'd like to comment, you might need to view the standard web version. Sorry, and thank you...


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