Understanding the Balance of Working From Home

by Deb Andrychuk

8 March, 2013

This past February, Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, drew some serious fire when she announced that remote workers and occasional teleworkers would need to return to the Mother Ship and pound it out with all of the other desk jockeys at Yahoo!. Initially, I was riled up for the telecommuters who would be forced to endure Monday morning traffic and give up the flexibility that comes from working in a home office.

Working from home is a great option for individuals with challenging commutes and family responsibilities. Early in my career, I would’ve loved this option, if only for the escape it could’ve provided me from my manager’s death stares every time I left early for my kids’ pediatrician, orthodontist, or dentist appointments. Still, working from home is a train wreck if you aren’t self-disciplined. It is not easy to get up and force yourself to crank out work every day if you don’t have a foreman cracking a whip or barking orders. It’s also incredibly difficult to concentrate when you have dogs barking, kids arguing, toilets flushing, doorbells ringing and dishes clanging in the background.

Let’s face it: most employees don’t have the perfect environment to work productively from home and most are not cracked up to manage themselves. I know plenty of remote workers who spend their days shopping, watching television, napping or going to the gym. I believe that having the privilege of working from home should be contingent upon the type of role one holds in a company and whether or not that individual is actually capable of completing their work with little to no supervision. Some might consider this unfair policy, but too bad; for as many successful remote workers I know, there are plenty more that suck at it.

Even my current work from home situation is changing soon. I am moving to St. Louis in the near future to join the TAGteam at our headquarters. Through the years we’ve learned that we get a lot more accomplished sitting across the table from each other, collaborating throughout the day. And, the energy that we produce when we are all together is immeasurable. I’m sure it will be tough for me to adjust to getting up, getting pretty and actually changing out of my flannel pajamas, but I’m willing to sacrifice for the sake of growing our company. Hopefully, the people at Yahoo! realize that the silver lining is the possibility of keeping their jobs. I, personally, refuse to take my position for granted.