National Work From Home Day

The work from home debate: Tech workers say they don’t want to be chained to the office

Jenna Charlton|

Is flexibility in the workplace important to you?

For many people the option of telecommuting and working from home is exactly what they’re looking for in a work environment. If you fit in this category, you’re certainly not going to apply to Yahoo any time soon.

After CEO, Marisa Mayer announced that Yahoo staff with work at home privileges will be asked to come into the office starting June, she’s received quite a bit of backlash. We have to admit that a no work from home policy seems a bit extreme. Especially from a once-innovative tech company.

According to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology, many workers now specifically look for remote working options when weighing new job opportunities. The survey asked 3,300 IT workers if having the opportunity to work outside the office was important to them when looking for new employment. Three out four workers surveyed indicated that it was.

The remaining workers surveyed said they “generally prefer working on-site versus remotely” because they “appreciate the camaraderie of working face-to-face.” Employees seem to be able to make decisions about how they work most effectively all on their own.

Teleworking has been a hot topic for a number of years now. So much so that Workopolis, a big supporter of work/life balance and flexible scheduling, started a campaign for a National Work From Home Day that made it all the way to Parliament. The campaign received so much attention that the city of Ottawa declared a Work From Home Day in support.

The Robert Half survey found that the workers who were able to work from home found that they were more productive “due to fewer interruptions and the lack of a commute.” Having the option to work from home also allows employees to meet family obligations. In a Financial Post article, Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family said, “when employees have family or other personal issues they need to take care of, the feeling is that by being able to work from home you can take care of those in a much shorter period of time than commuting.”

This is not to say that everyone works well from home, or that if given the opportunity employees will always work from home rather than go into the office. The option of working from home is one that establishes trust and respect between employer and employee. Workers are paid for the accomplishments they produce, rather than where or when they produced them.

There are certainly times that face-to-face meetings, collaborations, and office camaraderie win out. An office provides people with the opportunity to quickly meet, delegate, and plan. However, if more employees are looking for employment that at least gives them the options to work from home when needed; a blanket ban seems out of step.

What do you think? Do you seek out employment that allows you to work from home at least occasionally? Would you take a job that didn’t?

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