What you gain by working from home and an office and a coffee shop and wherever else

The Atlantic has a piece this week on what you and society lose when people work from home.

This is one of those breathless non-problems:

The issue is that when fewer people work in the office, people who actually go in don’t get the social or productivity benefits they expect from being around friends, close colleagues, and managers. When no one’s around consistently, they end up joining colleagues who spend some or all of their time working elsewhere, compounding the problem.

“I miss having at least one day where I know I am going to come into the office and I am going to sit down with my colleagues and talk about their experiences,” one employee told the researchers.

Then don’t work from home every day. Work from home on Monday and Thursday, in the office on Tuesday and Friday, and from somewhere else on Wednesday.

This whole problem for employers and workers can be summed up like this: “Employers want to maximize their value, and employees want to maximize their own effectiveness, too.”

See how that isn’t even a problem? It’s two sides working toward the same goal. Most people most of the time want to do good work and in a way that works for them.

Employers should set some ground rules on time and location, but be flexible with it. Don’t force a morning person into working in the afternoons or nights. Don’t force a support person who doesn’t often work on teams to come into the office just to sit at a desk all day.

Use common sense and trust your employees.

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Justin Harter

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