Friday, January 25, 2008
There's a good summary post on ReadWriteWeb today about the "work from home generation".
In summary the benefits are: No commute, Flexibility, Saving money and the environment, Increased productivity
and the disadvantages are: Brainstorming is difficult, You never leave work, Entropy is after you
I have deliberately built a company that is very flexible about where people work - but the reason is not altruistic - it's practical. We are, effectively, a 24/7 operation. Our teams are in Gurgaon (outside New Delhi), New York and California and we're running at a very fast pace because of our growth.
As a result, people are on the phone early in the morning, late at night and expecting them to also drive into the office for long office hours isn't practical. We keep some level of core hours, especially in engineering because of the need for brainstorming and design work, but as a senior management team we have become very good at working on the phone. We are very rarely in one place - we are split between the two coasts - so we have had to get very good on the phone.
Personally I am in New York almost every other week so when I am in California I like to work from home in the morning. My day usually starts at 5am and I often don't get into the car until 9am - which reduces my commute time.
The critical issue to make working from home effective is trust. As I posted before - trust is just more efficient - and when you trust employees and have clear objectives then there is no reason not to allow managers and employees to make their own flexible plans - and I think it's works for us in retaining the best and the brightest.