The origins of WFHIn late 90s and early 2000s there were two interesting trends going around:
1. Focus on work / life balance: Since the 1990s, companies have come to recognize the benefits of allowing employees to maintain a good work/life balance. An hour a day commuting to work, then working in front of a computer screen all day before spending another hour getting back home — it all adds up. It reduces the time one spends with his/her family.
Ten hours of travel a week works out at over 1200 days’ worth of wakefulness over a 40-year working life.
2. Advancements in Software and Technology: Technology makes it easier to stay connected and exchange information and ideas in a split second from anywhere around the world.
“If you’ve got development centers all over the world, you’ve got a sales force out with the customers, the fact that tools like Skype [and] digital collaboration are letting people work better at a distance — that is a wonderful thing.” — Bill Gates (Source)So when one can do so much with just a computer and internet and get a better work life balance, why should companies take up the additional expense of running and maintaining offices? No point! And that is what some companies like Amazon and Convergys did- giving their employees a work from home option. Dell even has a 2020 Legacy Of Good strategy that that will allow half of their workforce to work remotely if they desire.
The sudden realization about WFHAs the trend of WFH grew, some interesting facts have come up recently. Due to WFH:
- Work efficiency reduces (Reasons to not work from home)
- Innovations take a hit due to lack of teamwork, brainstorming sessions.
“If it’s just about you banging out emails or writing a report, sure, you can do that from home, but a lot of stuff we do at work today — teamwork, not individual work — that is the stuff that really measurably suffers.” — Ben Waber, CEO of Sociometric Solutions, a firm that studies remote workingThis led to a slew of debates and analysis on the topic and the results did not turn out in favor of the concept. Employees and corporates alike have realized that it isn’t such a grand design after all. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision, in 2003, to ban working from home in order to create a more collaborative and inventive environment was among the first steps by a large organization against this growing trend. More companies have followed since: Bank of America and Best Buy began to force people into going back to the office space lest they become disconnected. With this, now begins the search for another alternative. Organizations have deterred from incorporating policies related to WFH, but are well aware of the need for a fundamental change in order to evolve and adapt in modern times. There is a need for a solution — but what?