Does Working From Home Work?

working from home - llc publishingWhether owning your own business, working for a small company, or being an employee of a major corporation, the opportunity to work from home has never been more likely than it is today.  Advances in technology and communications provide the ability to work remotely, while an increased use of social networking tools has made it possible to maintain a ‘presence’ at the office.  Add in the fact that the costs of setting up a home office have never been lower, and it almost becomes a no-brainer.  But is it?

More and more companies are offering their employees the option of working from home, yet recently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer shook up her company by eliminating all work-from-home arrangements.  This change at Yahoo has been met with both praise and outrage.  So who’s right?

The answer is not as easy as it seems, and there’s clearly no single approach that’s right for every company.  For every article that gives you pointers on how to be more productive, there’s one that tells you why productivity is not the best measurement of success.

Some people will argue that working from home can ultimately limit your career growth.  In fact, industry studies have shown that individuals working from home are, on average, less likely to receive a promotion than those who work in an office.  Still others will provide you with strategies on how to keep yourself relevant in the workplace, whether it’s working from both home and the office, or investing time and effort into creating and maintaining a strong network of relationships across all levels of your company.  Career growth really seems to be more reflective of the individual, their approach to their job, and their commitment to driving positive business results than it does to where they perform their work.

So what’s right for you and your company?  The answer seems to depend on the answers to some basic questions:

1.  Can the duties of the job, and the measures of the successful performance of those duties, be easily communicated, regardless of location?
2.  Are you willing to invest the energy into creating and maintaining the business relationships needed to help move the business forward?
3.  Do you have employees that can make working from home work?  Are they accessible, proactive, and self-motivated?
4.  And most importantly, does your work-from-home employee fully understand the responsibility that comes with this arrangement?

In short, allowing yourself or your employees to work from home can be a great benefit to your business, but how you establish and manage these arrangements can make the difference between success and failure.