Why Working from Home May Not Be For Everyone

With the advent of more flexible rules governing how we perform our assigned tasks from our employers the option of either working from home on a part time of even full time basis has become a very contentious issue.

With many companies choosing to allow employees to work from home there has begun a debate as to whether or not it is working as well as we made have been led to believe. Recently Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer recalled all workers who had been allowed to work from home to the corporate office.   One of the points that were raised was the fact that collaboration by innovators is suppressed when employees are allowed to segregate themselves by working from home.   Especially in a business that relies on innovation to succeed we could see this as being problematic.

There are however, other companies who have found that by offering flexible working hours or the ability for the employee to define their own hours provided that the goals are met regularly and to the standards of the employer to be both more productive and even happier and healthier overall.

So what is the proper balance between the two ideologies? The final analysis has yet to be written.  There are many who feel that by offering flexible hours you increase productivity by removing the long commutes that workers may face which actually increases the number of productive hours that an employee has to offer.  Other mindsets believe that employees need the structure of an office and a supervisor standing behind them to ensure that the required work actually gets completed.

Research has shown that there are some who need that structure and the social benefits that go along with regular working hours in order to be effective and for overall job satisfaction. Research also shows that there is a true decline in innovation and collaboration when teams do work from home a la Marissa Meyers point of view.

The true balance between the two suggests that there may be an opportunity to mix the two ideologies whereby for the majority of the week the employee is at the office working in the structured environment and for at least part of the week, maybe one or two days they are able to work from home.   This allows for the collaboration to occur that is necessary to drive innovation but also affords those same employees the opportunity for the quiet reflection that the day at home offers which is also a necessary component for both innovation and creativity.

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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