Well said Richard Branson!


On Monday I read a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald, where Richard Branson out rightly states that Yahoo’s ban on home workers is a huge mistake. Right on I say!

Branson went on to say that unless you have a job that requires you to fly a plane or the like, you probably can do your job remotely. He even went on to say, “Companies that forbid the practice, such as Yahoo, put pressure on families and limit opportunities for women, according to the Virgin Group founder.”

Brilliant. Yes you have hit the nail on the head! Many women myself included are highly skilled and educated. They wish to give back but due to family commitments it makes things difficult. Working from home is ideal. You don’t have travel. You can focus on the tasks at hand and of course get more done. There are so much on offer now to make telecommuting easy for all. There is Skype, Google Docs, Dropbox and more. Why not hang onto your best assets and knowledgeable employees that want to work and will go above and beyond.

Happy that she has a work from home job

Happy that she has a work from home job.

If you find that one or a few staff members are not pulling their weight. Well you give warnings and then you make the decision to either let them go or forfeit the telecommute option.

I for one would give 120% to be able to work remotely in a good job with great pay. (I have noted that lately some work from home roles are underpaying for what they expect you to do. One full time role was a management role and expected 40+ hours a week, conference calls overseas via Skype and to manage maybe 100+ websites. This they were paying at least 60K less than the going rate for this position. Not sure if it was the company or the fact that since you are working from home they have undervalued everything. The work is still the same, the job is still the same so therefore the pay should be the same as well. What do you think? I do accept that you don’t need to travel anywhere for your role and that is a bonus but why should you get short changed?)

Employers are doing themselves a disservice. Brain drain is a big issue. It does not have to be simply mothers or fathers wishing for a more flexible family friendly lifestyle. If you don’t treat people well, they walk. Loosing staff that know all your processes is tough. It takes a long while before you can train new staff to know what the former staff knew inside and out. This is a cost to the business in knowledge and also to money. You need to retrain and rehire.

Many employers offer you the world and then don’t deliver. They promise flexible work and telecommuting options, however whenever you seek to use this option there are myriad of excuses for why it cannot be applied to you and your role. You have not been here long enough was what I always got told, and another amazing one, we need you here to manage things.

One place I worked for I was there five years and I lived the furthest away. A day here or there would have been amazing, but no it was not to be. The girl who lived less than 30 mins away was always working from home. You would have thought three years somewhere and putting in extra hours and working on projects that were successful would have qualified. No it did not.

I wonder what the magical number is that qualifies you to work from home from a corporate or organisations point of view. Is it what value you can give them? Or more like is it seen as a perk and not a value to the business?

In February 2013, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s Chief Executive put a stop to employees working from home. She believes that working side by side is better and more helpful for business and staff members. I do understand that interaction is nice and having catch ups is always something to look forward to. This can still happen if you have a fortnightly or monthly catch-up with say a team that is working from home and see how everyone is going. Maybe on these times you get everyone to come into the office to touch base and have a day in the office, although the rest of the work is from home. Now there’s an idea. What do you think?

Marissa Mayer is not the only one that has adopted this notion of side by side working. In the Sydney Morning Herald article it also mentioned that Patrick Pichette who used to work at Google as the Chief Financial Officer has also the belief that working side by side is more productive. How did Pichette work somewhere where they encouraged working remotely with “Google Apps” to allow employees to work from home to now saying that working side by side is more productive? In the article Pichette says the following:

“”The surprising question we get is: ‘How many people telecommute at Google?’ ” Mr Pichette said at a talk in Sydney on Monday. “And our answer is: ‘As few as possible’.

“It’s somewhat counterintuitive. People think, ‘Well, because you’re at Google you can work from anywhere.’ Yes, you can work from anywhere, but many just commute to offices . . . Working from the office is really important.”

Coffee and tools to work from home. Off to get a lot done!

Coffee and tools to work from home. Off to get a lot done!

I do understand that brainstorming and bouncing ideas off people does help a great deal, however quiet time to reflect and think is needed also. Maybe it could be a bit of both, some days in the office and some days working from home?

It is 2015 and more kids are tech savvy and will be wanting flexibility when they enter the workforce. I want it now and I’m not considered a kid. Why are we still that rigid when it comes to having staff work from home? As long as the job is getting done that is the main thing.

From the businesses point of view it is a cost saving if staff don’t have come to the office and have a permanent desk, phone and computer. They don’t need to provide this if you have a remote role (I know some places might give you a phone or laptop but that is rare). All they need to do is to maybe have a hot desk when you come in for team meetings and catch ups with your manager or team. Easy really. I just don’t see why it is so hard, especially in this age of technology and options.

I believe companies that don’t offer work from home and flexible options will not attract the right people in the future. We are moving to a work environment where you don’t have to be in an office. You could be on a beach or in your house with your pj’s on. As long as you are hitting your KPI’s the rest does not matter. For major corporates to not look beyond an office job is silly in my book, there are a lot of people with excellent skills that can do a great job from a home office, they just need a chance to show you they can.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried to work from home? Were you successful? Do you have a job that is a telecommute role? If so please share how it works for you.

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2 Responses
  • Gen
    April 30, 2015

    I have tried it all. Full time with kids in daycare. Part time. Working from home with a home nanny. There is no perfect solution. What works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another. What works for one organisation or one job doesn’t necessarily work for another. I found working from home convienient but it was also distracting. It worked for my employer at the time but it wouldn’t have worked forever. I think organisations need to be flexible – particularly for loyal or highly skilled employees – but it has to be productive for both parties. Regular face to face communication is really important for building partnerships and lets be honest – skype is not the same thing. I think offering flexible hours with core hours in the office is a great solution as it enables regular meetings and family flexibility.

    • Suzanne
      April 30, 2015

      Hi Gen and thanks for your comment. I agree employers need to be flexible, and yes everyone is different so a mix of in office and at home or say earlier times to leave might be a good thing to think about. I do agree having face to face time is needed. I think maybe a couple of days at the office and at home might work well. But that is me. Or as mentioned in my post, a fortnightly catch-up to make sure you are on target and to have meetings at the office. It really depends on the nature of the business in regards to when you might need to be at the office. Thanks again and have a lovely day, Suzanne.

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