Monday, 4 March 2013

On why the option to work-from-home is so important

I'm sure you've heard about the recent decision by Yahoo! to ban telecommuting.  There has, of course, been much discussion among working moms about this latest decision of Yahoo CEO and new mom, Marissa Mayer. I particularly like this post at Working Moms Break, one of my favourite working mom blogs. 

I also really enjoyed listening to this fascinating radio segment from CBC's The Current, which addressed the question "Is there a future for working from home?"

Although part of me can appreciate the rationale behind Yahoo's decision to put an end to their working from home policy, mostly,  I can't even believe that it is a question that needs to be debated. 

I don't work from home on a routine basis, but I believe that for jobs where it is possible and makes sense, having the option and flexibility available to work from home is important to all employees, with children or not.  And that it is incredibly important to parents, maybe even to moms in particular. 

I've written about the wonders of working from home before.  But working from home isn't just about having a day every so often to catch up on laundry in between focused, uninterrupted writing and editing sessions, or doing the dusting while on a teleconference. 

It's more than just a wonderful opportunity to gain some ground in the struggle for work-life balance.

Some parents consider the option to work from home as a necessity.  A friend and former colleague and fellow mom to young kids, recently told me about her difficult decision to turn down a job offer because the position did not include the option to work from home:

"I truly struggled with this decision and feel (the need for) work from home is going to ruin my career possibilities... Until I look at the kids... I also felt weak.  I should be able to have it all.  But I just can't.  I love being home for the kids and having flexibility when they are sick."
Being given the option to work from home when needed empowers the employee.  It reduces the stress of worrying about caring for a sick child, following daycare and school protocols for keeping kids home with a fever or lice, or scheduling appointments with teachers or physicians during the school day. 

By having the ability to work from home when we really need to, employers are validating that employees are more than just automatons pushing for a bottom line.  That they recognise that there is more to our lives than work.  And that makes employees feel more committed to their employers. 

I mean, how could I work positively or passionately, even, for an employer who didn't value me as a whole person? 

We have the technology.  It doesn't make sense to me to not let us use it.


  1. happy that there is a Mom blogging about something other than homemade Jam, gluten free diets etc. I can really related to all of it.

    We just revisted our working from home policy and increased the flexibility to ensure we consider the whole person.

  2. What a great post. I am looking up information on how to sell structured settlement payments so I can start my own business working from home with my kids. When I came across your article, I just had to read it. Thanks so much for this post. I am sure working from home or telecommuting is just getting started, I don't think it's anywhere close to ending.