Big Risks and Big Rewards: Letting Employees Work from Home - Brightwing

Big Risks and Big Rewards: Letting Employees Work from Home


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



Rivk says: March 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Over many years as a Corporate Controller I was the first one to encourage employees, mainly women, to leave early, to come in late, or to take entire days off as needed for their children. However, I also felt a twinge of resentment because I had to ask myself and/or others to cover for them, often requiring significant extra hours on the job.

Then, one day my wife called me at work and asked me to come home because she had to leave to take care of an emergency with her mother and needed me to watch our two-year-old grandson and our three dogs for the afternoon. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was run ragged, and totally emotionally and physically exhausted when my wife returned home later that day. Until then, I had no idea whatsoever what the women were dealing with when they left work early, came in late, or took the entire day off as needed for their children.

After that day, when I encouraged employees to leave work for family reasons, instead of feeling resentment, I felt a sense of relief that they had to deal with their home situation instead of me. Also, I tried to explain to the employees that had to work extra, that they were really the lucky ones. That wasn’t easy but I tried anyway.

So maybe the issue is not so much one of permitting employees to work at home or not, as much as it’s an issue of communicating how difficult it is for those employees who need to work at home to those employees who don’t need to. I don’t know how to best do that, but I would find a way before eliminating the stay-at-home option.

Wynona Logghe says: April 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

When money’s tight, work-at-home opportunities can sound like just the thing to make ends meet. Some even promise a refund if you don’t succeed. But the reality is many of these jobs are scams. The con artists peddling them may get you to pay for starter kits or certifications that are useless, and may even charge your credit card without permission.;

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Marty Surgoine says: April 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm

These days, working at home isn’t just a pipe dream — it’s an economic necessity. The Great Recession forced more than 300,000 stay-at-home moms to return to work. And in a recent retirement poll commissioned by Allstate, nearly 70% of near-retirees said they plan to continue working past age 65. ‘

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