Do Homeworkers Have Pointless Lives?

An article published by Financial Times this month suggested that those who work from home miss out on the important feeling that their lives and work have purpose. Unsurprisingly, the piece has caused a stir amongst the self-employed and business owners alike.

If you keep up to date with management trends and the latest strategies for creating a productive and motivated workforce, you’ll know that homeworking is by no means a new phenomenon.

Businesses including Amazon, IBM, Dell, and American Express are known for offering telecommuting opportunities, and it’s an option that’s often favoured by employees looking for an effective solution for balancing work responsibilities with life outside of the office.

Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer came into the spotlight a few years ago when she stated that homeworking would be off the agenda because she wanted to encourage collaboration and innovation. Lucy Kellaway, the journalist who penned this recent article, suggested that there were five more important reasons to favour the more traditional office environment.

She said that we need to be convinced that we have purpose, to feel human, to learn, to have a workspace that is distinct from the home, and she also added that we need to be able to facilitate the flow of gossip. Of course, the last point is presumably tongue-in-cheek, though the article and its message have once again put the subject back on the agenda.

There are many benefits of offering your employees more flexible working conditions. The range of positive takeaways include being able to attract top talent, retaining the right people, and offering a total reward package that motivates and drives the business forward.

Many would say that Kellaway has a point though. When workers don’t see their colleagues every day, it can be harder to create a sense of joint purpose. Teamwork is vital in just about every single business out there, so you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you if you want to make telecommuting a viable option for your employees. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. It just means that you’re going to have to be creative, and have a clear but flexible approach that’s regularly reviewed.

How do you feel about homeworking? Is it something that you’d consider in your business? Or do you have reservations about its effectiveness?