Yahoo says no to home office – What do you think poll

20130227-075533.jpgTechnology has rapidly changed the places we do work, we can access almost everything in the cloud now, we don’t need to be ‘hard connected’ to our corporate networks to do our jobs. But is it the right thing to do?

Yahoo recently announced with some uproar from their employees that all home working employees must return to the office, it has also got some negative coverage in the media – Emma G Keller of The Guardian as one example. Quoting that home office working has increased by 69% between 2000 and 2010. So is the view of home office working the guy watching TV?

Home working can have huge positive impacts on our carbon emissions, less commuting, less office space required as well as greater connection to community and family. But it can also be hugely distracting, with three kids it’s hard to concentrate at the best of times!

So, in a very quick straw pole last night at a work function I found its not necessarily home working that we are doing now, people liked to work from cafes, libraries, parks all sorts of places. There was the statement back in 1985 that we would soon have our office in our pocket. The statement was being made about being able to just talk on a mobile phone, without knowing how true the statement would become. We can now talk, check emails, connected to our work networks from almost anywhere – subject to data coverage!

I think technology has moved us beyond the home working debate, we can now and do work from anywhere. I’m writing this post on a train into north sydney for a meeting in a cafe, before going to the office but I will be ‘connected to the office’ the whole time.

The lines of office and non office working are starting to blur and this could have a huge impact on our built environment. Maybe our office buildings need to be more than offices and cater to the variety of spaces we want to work in! Maybe we wont be building any more ‘single use’ buildings?

So what do you think?

6 Comments on “Yahoo says no to home office – What do you think poll

  1. Yahoo is a sad case of a bloated company that is in trouble and paid too little attention to its own workers and as a result have a large number on contract of otherwise who NEVER come into the office. This is demonstrated by their comment that they have people on their books that no body knows what they do. If you don’t pay attention to your staff, they will not pay attention to you.

    • Al, thanks for the comment. It’s an interesting point – maybe its not an issue of trusting that someone wont be working at home watching TV but more about knowing your staff better!

  2. Echos some thoughts expressed at a recent GBCA conference in Melbourne on the future of work places, especially those of Sarah Kay of Woods Bagot. Gen Z (or the Google generation) will not understand the concept of having to physically sit in a sterile, uni-functional space to do what they could do from anywhere. Workplaces will increasingly have to attract their own staff to come in and offices will be about collaborating, not “working”. Innovation willbe the currency, not knowledge. The offices of the future will be mixed use by definition. I particularly like the theory that in future, everything will be wireless or on wheels – so that it can be totally changed for rapidly evolving work practices without the churn.

    Some obvious flaws to be worked out in that approach, but it’ll be a brave new world either way………….

    • Thanks for the comment Andrew. It is definitely a hot topic at the moment. I think that the current trend towards activity based working (abw), although maybe driven by cost reduction, is a potential opportunity on a larger scale. Rather than just choosing which desk to sit at, you would chose which building to work in and then which desk you want to work at.

  3. I teleworked one day a week for a while at my old job, and it was great. We are way past the antiquated days of needing to come to a central location for many office jobs. Now, Yahoo has had some difficulties and is trying to right the ship. If this is a temporary move to take stock of all their assets, including their staff and their outputs, I think that is prudent. If it stays in place, it is arbitrary and will end up costing them more in the long run.

    • Thanks Daniel. A very good point. If it is ‘taking stock’ then it is a good move for yahoo, as long as its reconsidered when stock taking has been completed. It should be a shame if a tech leader became a futute laggard.

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