Despite Yahoo’s recent ban on working from home, many companies are still opting to let employees work remotely, even if they live fairly close to the office. But, as with everything, a work from home policy can have its pros and cons. That much is evident from the story of Yahoo, where employees were collecting paychecks while spending work hours on side projects and startups. Here are some of the rewards and drawbacks to letting your employees work remotely.


Pros – When things go right:

  • Increase Productivity: When you give people flexibility, employees feel trusted and empowered to manage their own desk. Studies also show that employees who are allowed to occasionally work from home are more productive.
  • Build Loyalty:  People want to work where they feel valued and appreciated as a person. Offering a flexible plan demonstrates you realize everyone has different personal and family obligations.

“Its amazing how someone’s IQ seems to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them.”
– Tim Ferriss author of 4 Hour Work Week

  • Spur Creativity: By changing up the environment, employees have been shown to be more innovative and creative.
  • Motivate and Attract Top Talent: Granting work from home status can be used as an incentive or perk: one that costs you very little, if anything.

Cons – When things go wrong:

  • Degrades Culture: Managed incorrectly, a work from home policy can lead to a deterioration of culture and morale.
  • Generates Resentment:  Obviously, not all jobs can be done remotely. An unfair policy can create turmoil and resentment.
  • Isolates and Decreases Productivity: Working from home excessively can lead to isolation and idleness. Without the social benefits of working in an office, employees can start to feel isolated and unmotivated.

If you’re thinking about instating a work from home policy in your office, in most cases, a practical rule of thumb seems to be moderation. Your organization might be able to benefit from the perks of allowing employees to work remotely by offering up the option once or twice per week. For instance, at Brightwing many of the working mothers and fathers with young children opt to work from home one day a week. Likewise, if you have to stay home one day to wait for the cable guy, no one will turn up their nose.  There are many examples of the good, the bad and the ugly of working from home. Still interested? Here are some great tips for creating a practical and successful work from home policy at your organization.

The concept of workplace flexibility definitely seems here to stay, but exactly what that looks like for the future and for individual organizations is yet to be seen.

April JenningsAuthor: April Jennings