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Richard Branson: One Day Offices Will Be a Thing of the Past

Posted on the 04 March 2013 by Butterchicken @vivekkrishnan

Marrisa Mayer raised many eye brows when she banned working from home for Yahoo employees worldwide. A few days later support came in from Michael Bloomberg who thought working from home is ‘one of the dumber ideas I’ve ever heard’. Following which, the British entrepreneur Richard Branson wrote that ‘one day office will be a thing of the past’.

In his argument, Richard Branson maintains that with advancement in technology in about 30 years time, people will begin to wonder why humans ever had offices. He made some strong case points like the fact that a free and flexible work environment leads to a more creative and productive work from employees. Branson seemed pretty opinionated that by working at home employees would waste less time commuting and get a better work/life balance. He says, “To force everybody to work in offices is old school thinking.

You can read Richard Branson’s complete article here.

While I agree on the fact that Richard Branson maintains that working at home offers a lot of creative space for an employee with many more choices. And ultimately lead to a very contented work force where people are happy; the organization usually will suffer. Again, working at home will affect different organizations differently. When Yahoo released the email to their employees that they need to work at offices and no longer telecommute, one of the reasons that Yahoo claimed was that employees have literally begun startups or business while still on their payroll. This is a matter of concern for any company. And especially Yahoo, which has been seeing a steady decline in revenues over the years.

Moreover, I believe that working at home would be dealt differently by different people. For some people, working at home works extremely well, while for other working out of an office helps them focus better on the task at hand and be more productive. Also, the chances of abuse of this freedom is a liability when it comes to allowing employees to work at home.

The lack of flexibility in work hours was a great way to acquire talent at a lower cost, especially women. And with the ban on working from home by Yahoo CEO, there will obviously be a bump in the number of resignation over the next couple of months as people try to leave the organization.

If cancelling the freedom to work at home was one move by Yahoo, then Heather Mallick (columnist at The Star) figures that it could be an era of big internal change, perhaps even layoffs. Even if the employees who have been comfortable working the organization for the last many years, this memo will change their lives. The decline of Yahoo is a sad story with the company changing their CEO multiple times over the last couple of years and desperately looking for a rejuvenation. In the beginning of March 2013, Yahoo discontinued seven of their products. The doomed products include Yahoo’s BlackBerry app and Sports IQ. It obviously shows that Marissa Mayer is doing everything she can to streamline the organization with big changes.

Your comments below will keep the post brewing. Go ahead and let me know your thoughts on working at home.

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