Below is a link to an article written by Max Chafkin of Inc. Magazine in April 2010. It was recently nominated for an Eddie Award by Folio Magazine. The article is about an experiment Inc. performed by going virtual for one month. All writers and editorial staff spent 30 days working out of the home.
The article does a great job of addressing the financial, cultural, and personal impact working at home has on the business and it’s employees. For example they found Inc. would save $500,000 a year in real estate expense alone. It also has some interesting tidbits on tax savings and how state law comes into play.
However, I do have a bone to pick with Chafkin’s statement that tech doesn’t matter. I think it doesn’t matter when your IT department has done such a good job that you as a user don’t realize how complicated the technical solution for work at home can be. He does admit that it took up to 10 minutes to download certain files. This goes to how important the virtualization of the desktop and virtual storage solutions are to the work at home environment.
Chafkin also writes that it was more difficult to collaborate from the home environment. He felt that teamwork suffered. I agree this can be true and that it take a cultural shift by the company to look at forming ensembles (different teams) for each objective. In other words, work at home allows you to form the right team to achieve individual objectives rather than use the same team all the time.
Lastly Chafkin writes about the sensation of “being starved for human contact”. Later he touches on the importance of hiring the right people who don’t necessarily crave that kind of contact on a regular basis.
Enjoy the article. It’s extremely well written and very interesting. I look forward to your feedback.