“This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home — this is about what is right for Yahoo right now.”
I feel like that one statement just set the world back twenty years.
For those unaware of the origin of that statement, it was written in response to a leaked memo from Yahoo’s boss Marissa Mayer. The leaked memo told Yahoo’s staff that they could no longer work from home and if they choose not to comply with the rule by June they will be out of a job.
This is insane to me.
Removing myself from just focusing on Yahoo, I can’t understand how any one company can believe that this is a good way of fostering creativity. As I look at myself and how I foresee my career going I don’t believe that I will be forced to be in an office ten years from now. Quite honestly I won’t work for someone who doesn’t get the value in getting the best out of their creative minds by any means necessary. You can’t control creativity and in a corporate world that struggles to keep up with communication of ideas you cannot do anything that will stifle inspiration.
I don’t fear that Yahoo’s take on their work force is going to stop the ongoing trend of working from wherever and whenever. My fear is that Yahoo just stunted their growth in an unfixable way. It is no secret that companies have become more flexible to how their employees work. By allowing them to work in ways that best benefits that employee they often times receive far better work from them then if they were to mandate when and how they have to create.
Design is about harnessing an idea and developing a thought. Half the battle of creating good work is striking while the iron is hot. If that means that you create your best work from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am then take advantage of that time. To me what I see is a major failure of allowing flexible working hours is mandating the outcomes. I love to create and create and create and create and create…. but if I don’t have goals and a timeline for a project then all I did was create. From the outside looking in the major failure of Yahoo is not setting clear deliverables of what each employee is to be providing and now they have to reign people back in. But ultimately all this is going to do is make the people who did produce at high levels seek out different roles at companies that will harness their work style.
I don’t believe we have found the perfect way of collaborating yet with people that work from home but I do think it is improving. Whether using various forms of chat, email or video conferencing the opportunity of being remote but still face-to-face is evolving. Once we hone in on how to still have those random conversations that stimulate big ideas or the impromptu meeting that finds a resolution, working from home won’t even be a question.
I constantly am working with people from different regions of the US and other countries. We all have different time zones and varying schedules. But if you are working on a project together, and in particular a project with money involved; you will make sure your schedules meet to make sure your project is going to plan. Often I have found that texting simple questions tends to get the quickest answers and doesn’t hold a project up. The key thing is aligning yourself with a personality that is flexible and moves quickly. The world of product creation is evolving and if you can’t be flexible then it will be very challenging to keep up with demand and ultimately could cause you losing market space.
I know that this topic is a little further off subject to my typical design breakdowns on footwear but I believe this directly relates to me and I could not help resist seeing how others felt. My career has always been focused on creating while I have inspiration. I can’t control when or where that inspiration comes from I just have to be ready for when it comes. I know that quite a few designers and other major corporate workers visit this site and I would love to hear your thoughts and input on how being able to work or not work from home will effect your creative future.
Give me your thoughts in the comments section below!