Back to the Office: Is Yahoo’s Decision a Harbinger of Things to Come?

From what we hear, work-at-home policies are incredibly popular among insurance companies and their employees. To me (and I won’t use the royal “we” as I can’t speak for Dennis, Paul, Mike, etc.), I’ve always found the policy confusing (albeit cost effective to bean counters). Now certainly a part of my confusion can be attributed to the fact that I cannot imagine getting any work done at home with my four children under the age of 10, but I’ve often wondered (and opined out aloud to anyone who would listen) how work-at-home policies don’t: (a) engineer one’s own redundancy (since folks in India or the Philippines could work from home far more cheaply than an American or Englishman); and (b) stifle collaboration and training. Yahoo apparently shares my concerns as it has just abolished its work-at-home policy and ordered everyone to return to the office. This policy change does buck the modern trend but apparently Yahoo did it to foster a sense of community and innovation amongst employees. Interestingly, it appears that work-at-home employees are more “productive” but less “innovative.” Query whether insurance companies need “productive” or “innovative” employees. I think the answer is a bit of both, so perhaps, like an Aristotelian mean, insurance company employees should spend a few days a week at the office and be given the option to work at home for the rest of the week.

For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.