By Glenn Nott
It’s been little surprise to see the international backlash surrounding Yahoo Chief, Marissa Mayer’s decision to abolish work from home. Business heavyweights including Sir Richard Branson, have refuted Ms. Mayer’s archaic views of flexible working and I am also disappointed.
Dismissing options for staff to work remotely from home in 2013 is like holding back the tide. While there continues to be debate, the side that sits on the “negative” are either those that have never tried remote working or have not implemented successful strategies when making the shift from a corporate office to a home office.
For over a decade, Skillsoft Asia Pacific has promoted and successfully made working from home the cultural norm for existing and new employees. In fact, if we asked our employees to show up to a corporate office everyday there would be a revolt. We have proven year in and out that in our environment, working from home increases employee productivity, drives a more positive attitude from staff and makes for a more efficient workforce.
If I were to offer two pieces of advice for those organizations sitting on the fence it would be to
- Ensure communication channels are heightened for the first six months. Ensure phone contact is more regular than ever, hold more team meetings and coach staff on a daily basis.
- Constantly remind staff about the company they represent. The biggest “aha moment” for me, which wasn’t an obvious one at the time, was when a staff member no longer walked into their corporate office and saw their company logo on the side of the building or on the reception desk. Missing that, they soon forget they are part of a much bigger picture and have corporate responsibilities. They are not stuck in isolation, in a home office, working and making decisions for themselves.
Having a strong, well thought-out plan for making the shift from a corporate office to a home office is not an option in 2013. Staff expect it; particularly the millennial generation, customers enjoy it and organizations want it as they see efficiencies and effectiveness soar!