There has been quite a bit of buzz lately about work-life balance in the media. One thing in particular people have been asking me about are the changes at Yahoo, where CEO Marissa Mayer has banished the work from home policy. Some studies say over 26 million people work from home. For each of those 26 million people I believe it’s a privilege to do so. Companies do not have to offer this as a benefit, they choose to for many reasons and employees have come to expect as a given.
From what I understand about the issue this wasn’t a random decision, the data showed that overwhelming employees were abusing the privilege and were not actually working when they said there were. It takes an enormous about of discipline and commitment to one’s role to be able to successfully work at home, day after day. As we talk about in my workshops – work is about outcomes not hours and location and if the outcomes are not there then changes to behavior have to be made – in this case the change made was around location.
Now, if after a year when stronger work outcomes (hopefully) have been achieved if the policy maintains then I will have something different to say. For now, each company is different and has its own unique challenges and goals and there are some cases and points in time where working from home is not the right thing for the company. Part of any job is to support what is right for the company, especially if you are both and employee and stockholder in that company.