Physically Being Together

Working from home is only for a lucky few.
Statistics show that 97 percent of the working class has a daily ritual of traveling back and forth to work, and only a mere lucky 3 percent work from home. But the good news is, the number of Stay-at-Home workers rise rapidly; for example the 4.2 million Americans in 2000 working from home represents a 23 percent increase from 1990. Of course, laptops, high-speed Internet access, and smart phones have made home offices nearly indistinguishable from office offices.

The benefits of working from home? A survey summarized in the Microsoft whitepaper, Work without Walls, indicates the top 10 benefits of working from home from the employee’s viewpoint in reverse order:

10) Environmentally friendly (23%)
9) More time with family (29%)
8) Less stressful environment (38%)
7) Quieter atmosphere (43%)
6) Eliminate long commute (44%)
5) Less distractions (44%)
4) More productive (45%)
3) Avoid traffic (47%)
2) Save gas (55%)
1) Work/home balance (60%)

But the vanguard IT companies that usually boast of how their staff can work from anywhere in the world has gotten a setback last week when Yahoo! circulated an internal memo which required their employees who work remotely to relocate back to company facilities.

No more working from home
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” Yahoo! relinquishing its long time working-from-home practice for certain employees should alarm some firms that highly embraced this practice.

We partially practice the concept of working from home at FingerTec, but yet we value physically being together for better collaboration and performance very much. How to strike a balance? That is an art to be learned but a good system that is based on management by objective would be more important to measure remote processes.

For example, we rotated our technical engineers to work from home in night shift for one week a month for them to handle technical inquiries from different time zone clienteles. Three quarters of their time still need to be spent in the office to learn new technologies and to collaborate with peers. Accomodatingly, our system is ready for them to handle their time and attendance clocking and to pick up their works from home.

And, unless you are part of the self-driven class of people or self-employed bosses that run your own business (that constitutes 58 percent of the Stay-at-Home workers); formally incorporated or otherwise, purely work-from-home employees are those who will get less corporate culture influence. If your company has a good corporate culture, this can be a bad thing.

By Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Working from home is only for a lucky few. Statistics show that 97 percent of the working class has a daily ritual of traveling back and...