John has been posting some very interesting articles on work from home, or not working from home…
How many times have we heard about “Work-Life Balance”? The suggestion has been that people balance work and life, with an inference being that we should do both in equal measure. In many (not all I hastily add) cases it has been lip service from well meaning HR people who needed to say something to both sides.
Well, for me, it is not to do with balance but much more to do with ‘enough’. The right amount. That means from a persona point, we are getting what we need. If my need is accumulating money for the next 12 months then having a lot of play time, spending money is not helping me.
So, to the posts.
Back to balance, or rather – enough. From my perspective this is a classic pendulum reaction. Over emphasis of one aspect or the other of just about anything will cause a reaction in the opposite direction at some stage in the future.
It was of course very trendy and potentially effective for business to have people to work from home. I question the rationale for many of these decisions and suspect that a few were well thought out. In the middle of a major economic crisis the desire to reduce overhead on office space became a huge driver to justify the – well why not work from home choice.
One has to wonder if the same decisions would have even been considered in absence of a boardroom demand to reduce overheads? Of course, overhead reduction is a reasonable reaction in hard times, but the effects of remote working were not always properly thought through.
Reaction to difficulties at Yahoo may well be in part remedied by pulling everyone together but as is so often the case, perhaps it is in part to do with how such things are executed. There is little doubt and plenty of evidence to suggest that working remotely is effective. There is plenty of evidence too, to show that the converse is also true.
So in another offering, Amazon’s James Hamilton works and lives on his boat. Fantastic. But read on. He also goes to the office.
The fact is, there are some kinds of work that lend themselves to remote working and there are some people who can do it. Not necessarily all of the time. This is a complex subject and we will be adding more pieces on this but the reality is, companies and people need to get the right mix and situation. For our part, we see an ever increasing number of people who will work not just remotely but also in a Portfolio Life. This means doing a range of things – for Pay, Purpose and Play. Both companies and people need help to get it right, otherwise, as is clear from the reaction at Yahoo, there is a very real chance that as the pendulum of over reaction swings back, some big players will get knocked out!