2/28/13

WORKING is the Key . . .

Unless you live under a very big rock (no offense, Mesa, Arizona) you have no doubt heard of the recent flap over Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer (who looks a LOT like my daughter's first grade teacher will likely look when she's the same age as Marissa Meyer is today) and her decision to end "telecommuting" or "work from home" options for Yahoo! employees. While this is probably not exactly the biggest news in the world it seems to have struck a nerve with the masses. Why?

The arguments and theories as to why are all over the board but the consensus seems to be that:


  • Innovation is better when teams are together (this is true for accountants to programmers/developers)
  • Employees are not as dutiful at home as they might be in the workplace
  • By forcing employees to get to work each day they will drive out some employees and actually lower overhead and have a stronger/leaner workforce in the long run
  • It is very expensive to house your workforce (square footage, office supplies, heating/cooling, electricity, shoveling sidewalks, taking out trash, etc.) so this is not about the bottom line
  • People love to make things about more/bigger than they are.
Here's the bottom line. The (relatively) new CEO of a former tech giant wants to shake it up. She wants her army back. She wants their collective swagger back. She is being a 'bold" and visionary leader in taking somewhat radical steps to do that (this is BIG tech, folks - where work/life balance and culture of independence and blah, blah, blah were born and raised and where talent is attracted and retained (every beanbag in a Google office knows exactly what I'm talking about and so do you)). 

Now. I'll let all of you duke this one out. I don't have a job at all right now so working from home is not really on my worries list BUT I'll say this . . . I worked for IBM. They  had a liberal policy on this and they even had lots of folks that were not assigned a physical office at all so they "had" to work from home. All four of my real jobs have allowed telecommuting in various forms and doses. Here's what I know:

  • It ain't for me. Put me in an office. Let me have a HOME and an OFFICE. Let me traverse the two as a way of mentally switching gears. Give me people that I respect and that inspire and challenge me. Let me have a break room to talk trash in (my dining nook just doesn't cut it). Let me separate church and state.
  • Let's make this about what it IS about . . . the WORK! If you are WORKING (diligently or otherwise) you should not need to be "here" or "there" to do it. But if you are really working "here" or "there" it will annoy you to be second guessed or forced to change. Your WORK may suffer accordingly. But for every person I knew at Big Blue that was a solid remote employee, I knew two that would have dogs and adult children making noise during conference calls, they would never be on Sametime (instant messaging) and they would always have lame excuses for why not. Then again, for every person in my cubicle farm that was stellar, there was one that was not. WORK, people. That is why they PAY YOU! Put a divide between each of your worlds. Close the door. Focus. Do great work. 
  • If I hear one more "pundit" make this all about poor women and poor mothers with NO allowance for the fact that men are torn with work and home that fathers are actually dutiful to their children and that there is the occasional penis-carrier in the cross hairs of this debate I'm going to SNAP. My ex-wife is far better at "home" - she loves it. Would be a full time mom in a heartbeat. I would lose my mind. I want, no NEED to work. I want to go there and come home. Bring bread and/or bacon (I don't eat the stuff any more but analogies being what they are . . . ) with me. I love the crap out of my child and will take time off when she's ill and juggle the two but I'm not conflicted on doing WORK when people pay me to WORK. Does this make the point about mothers and fathers and the divide on this debate? Nope. Because I'm one example - ONE. I know lots of women that allow their child to convalesce for days if a deadline at worked loomed and I know men that are homemakers, lead parents, and fantastic at it. STOP with the gender bias crap. Work life balance is not gender specific. Nor it is it any easier for either gender. 
That's the rant. Now get back to work. Why are you reading my blog in the middle of the day anyway? Telecommuting slacker!