Saurabh Arora

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Is your company ready to adopt “Work from Home” model?

Toni Schneider (CEO, Automattic) has an excellent post describing the reasons for a company to have a distributed team.

I’ve noticed a new trend in Silicon Valley. More and more startups are beginning life as distributed companies, and investors and partners are starting to accept it as normal. Our company Automattic is distributed, and I’m ready to sing the praises of running a business in this way. BTW, I think distributed (“evenly spread throughout an area”) is a better description than the more commonly used virtual (“nearly real or simulated to be real”) for a company that has people working from all over the place instead of a centralized office. In Automattic’s case, we currently have over 50 employees spread across 12 US states and 10 countries.

via toni.org

A follow up post by Bob Patterson describes the cost and and time saving benefits of a distributed company model.

With NO Commute – so they get hours of time back a day. Let’s say 2 hours a day. 10 hours a week. 40 hours a month. (That’s a working week). 12 weeks a year! That is a lot of dentist visits, plumber visits, time with kids and spouse, time to nap, time to do whatever. And all this time was pulled out of the air as a result of not commuting.

Then of course there are the direct costs of commuting – the car, the transport. It costs $9,000 a year to run a car fully costed. How about coffee and lunch? What do you spend today? $5.0 – $20 a day. That is $1,000 – $4,000 a year for coffee and lunch! How about clothes? I used to buy 2 suits a year as a man. Women can’t get away with that. How much does going to work cost you in clothes? $2,000 – $5,000.

via fastforwardblog.com

I couldn’t agree more with Toni and Bob. I’m personally a strong proponent of “Work from home” model. However, there are many reasons why this model doesn’t work in many organizations. For those organizations, one or more of the below points stands true:

  • People feel far too comfortable walking to the other person and talking face to face rather than picking a phone and do the talk. They feel more confident in convincing/communicating others face to face.
  • If majority of the employees don’t exercise the work from home flexibility, then there always a fear that those exercising may be treated indiscriminately by their managers.
  • In case of no deadlines and/or clear accountability, those exercising the work from home option often tend to relax at home, resulting in lower productivity.
  • Companies don’t pay for number of projects done but for number of hours clocked.
  • Companies believe strongly in cubicles and glass doors that differentiate employees.
  • Employees want to exercise authority/control over others.

What other reasons can you think?

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Saurabh Arora is is crunching numbers at Faceboook. Previously, he got his hands dirty doing product development, online customer acquisition, product marketing and online revenue generation for one of the India's leading online job portal.

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