Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Data on Working From Home

This week, a colleague worked from home for a day. His commute is 90 minutes each way and he had an afternoon dentist appointment. He was at his computer chatting with the team, putting out e-mails, and generally doing his job. He and I have done this before for various reasons. We've both left early due to weather, skipped coming to the office altogether due to weather and/or travel. It didn't seem like a big issue...until he got called into the boss's office today.

The boss asked why he worked from home the day before, to which my colleague calmy said he had a dentist appointment and didn't think it was worth coming in that day. He said it didn't make sense to waste 3 hours of his workday to come in for 3 hours before leaving early to make the appointment. The boss sort of agreed, but hinted that he should have done just that. My colleague asked why, to which the boss said being gone was "bad optics" for the rest of the office. If the desk was empty, the boss's boss would assume the team wasn't working hard enough.

I haven't yet spoken with my colleague about this, but he seems pissed. I overheard him call his wife, and seemed a bit upset at her for scheduling the appointment. They both know the whole situation wasn't her fault, but I suppose he needed to vent.

This comes a day or so after the new Yahoo! CFO/CEO said all employees must make arrangements to come to the office beginning in the middle of the year. Is the world moving backwards? I understand the benefits of seeing co-workers on a regular basis, but we spend 95% of our time staring at our own computer. Productivity wouldn't get worse if we all stare at a computer at home rather than the office, it might even get better!



4 comments:

  1. Bosses like your co-worker's and Yahoo's CEO are dinosaurs waiting for their meteor to strike. However in the short term I fear they may get some small amount of momentum which will result in a crackdown on flexible work arrangements. This is yet another reason to get out of the corporate world as quickly as possible.

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    1. I agree. The long-term trend is towards more flexibility, but employers have the power for the moment because of the high unemployment rate. As the economy continues to pick up, flexibility will return.

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  2. That's annoying that the boss agreed but still reprimanded him. What a shame. Luckily I don't have to deal with that with my job since I work in the field anyways, but if I went back to a desk job it'd be one that would allow at least the option to work from home when needed.

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    1. Definitely a frustrating situation...but that's life in corporate America - everybody has to play along like a good little sheep.

      Being out in the field would be great. I get massive cases of cabin fever and am inches away from insanity.

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