Work Is Where The Brain Is

Totally buying the conspiracy theory (can’t find link?!) that the Yahoo! memo was leaked on purpose – to get people talking about Yahoo!. Ahem.

The so-called “Cons” of working at home

Sparked by the Yahoo! memo this USA Today article debates the pros and cons of telecommuting; it barely scratches the surface or realizes it’s not 1998. The pros are simplistic and obvious but whatever; it’s the idiotic cons which have my knickers in a twist.

Less productivity. At-home workers can be distracted with personal tasks.

Puh-lease. Really, personal life NEVER disrupts the office worker? They don’t bring in their colds, their cell phones, their worry over whatever life is doing or not doing back home? They don’t have phones or use their computers to book their vacations, check kids’ grades, look for better gigs or take advantage of the company resources to print and copy and whatever else they need?

Being in an office does not magically make a ‘personal’ life disappear nor for that matter, instantly put workers in A-game mode. Plenty of studies show – because of the constant ‘work’ interruptions, pointless soul ravaging meetings, water cooler nonsense, extra long breaks – that the average worker maybe gets in 5-6 hours of actual work done. On a good day.


Less communication and cohesion. When workers are scattered, it’s harder to build a sense of ‘team.'”

“Less innovation. You need to bounce ideas off one another to generate new concepts.

Skype. Facetime. Email. Project management apps. For Twitter’s sake, I get ideas from tweets. Workflow tracking. Fancy new things called telephones. And when we get really wild and crazy, we can GASP! schedule on-site meetings. In person. With like chairs and a big ass table in the middle.

When did teleworking translate into NEVER working with others, never having meetings or talking with your co-workers? (That’s not exactly a deal breaker is it, not like we really like everyone on ‘the team’ do we?)

No one is saying that technology will replace in person meetings for all eternity. Sometimes it’s better to meet, other times.. totally not.

What makes these arguments so silly to me is that they’re based upon this idea:

“Office chit-chat can be valuable for the bottom line.”

O-M-G. It’s “Oscars were lame” small talk or “Do you have what I need and asked for last week?! Screw it, I can do it myself faster.” That is office chit chat.

If someone’s got a million dollar idea, they ain’t given it up at the frickin’ water cooler. They’re putting that mojo down in stone, making sure they get the credit, the promotion, the pay raise and the stock options; or venturing out to do it on their own.

Less control. In the office, you can see how and when employees are working.

I’ll let C.C. Chapman take this one: “You don’t have a productivity problem, you have an HR problem.”

If you have to helicopter parent your “self-starter, autonomous, independent” highly recruited talent, you gots bigger issues than deciding workshifting is bad.

Four Walls Do Not an ‘Office’ Make 

Most professionals I know are just that – professional. I am always learning, always thinking. My brain’s ON function isn’t limited by grey cube walls or the coffee shop or a 9-5 clock.

When the “at work” light is on, they make it happen. When it’s teleconference time – there are no distractions, there’s no zoning out or doodling on a note pad to fight the boredom; it’s a meeting and you show up to get your work DONE.

One good point the story made: A Pro for teleworking is that you can hire a wider range of talent; so a Con is that when you don’t, the competition gets to.

Is work wherever your brain is that day, or do you need the structure of an office, constant team interaction?

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12 thoughts on “Work Is Where The Brain Is

    1. Doctors can’t phone in their surgeries, plenty of demanding jobs that have to be done on site. But when the tools of your trade are a phone, computer, Internet and your own creativity – no reason to be limited by four walls of a gray cube.

  1. You already know how I feel about this. We’ve been totally virtual for a little more than a year and it’s working brilliantly. Our productivity is up more than 30 percent and my team is happy. Sure, there are times being in an office together would be easier to get some work done, but that happens maybe twice a month. I’ll take the pain of having to do that kind of work via video Skype twice a month over having to sit in an office together every day (not to mention how much money we save in rent).
    Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) recently posted..How Communicators Should Work with Difficult Executives

    1. Happy, productive team you say? Whataya know?!! 🙂 It can totally be win-win w/ right people. Like I told Jenn, my blood tends to boil when virtual seems to ‘lose’ these debates only by default of being not the office. AS IF -said in best Cher Clueless voice – the office is all that.

      You know my feelings as well. If I can multi-process my way into getting all the work done, done well – then who cares when I did it, where I did it or how long it took me?! It is what it is – good work. Period. FWIW.

  2. Who was the guy who was outsourcing his job to a guy in China so he could shop online and play games all day? Wasn’t he working in an office environment?

    1. Me too, it’s why it frosts my cookies to see this debate be rehashed. And so weakly.. just ugh. Not all jobs, not all companies can do this – no one is saying it’s for everyone. But it does work – and really well for right employees, businesses.

  3. In the office or working from home, it’s just being accountable. The first company I worked for that told me this was their mantra and they would hold me to it had me at hello. I dont want a to-do list or weekly meetings or anything else that hinders me from doing my job and doing it really well. Yes I do my laundry when I work from home but Im also online at 7am and dont know when to stop at the end of the day. I actually get more done there but the office is nice to get out and see people and some of my co-workers go in everyday because they work better there. But we have options and that’s important.
    Christina Pappas recently posted..Getting a Re-Tweet Is Easy. Getting Permission to Email is Much Harder.

    1. It’s accountability that makes a job, any job, work. (Friend was just telling me how her company tracks performance home vs office.) It’s not venue as I’ve seen plenty of folks phone it in at the office.

      My issues w/ this circular debate is ‘blaming’ teleworking instead of holding managers, employees accountable. It’s saying it’s lessor.. w/ only rationale being it’s not the office. IDK something about being ‘better’ by default.

      When at home I miss people, want to get out; when at office, I want out.. that change of scenery. Options, nice to have Christina. And FWIW I did 5 loads of laundry today emailing, blogging, evil plan hatching the whole time. 🙂

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