Working at home isn’t for everyone. As a writer, I work according to what Y Combinator’s Paul Graham calls the “maker’s schedule.” My job requires long stretches of distraction-free time, and my output, on any particular day, is sensitive to my mood and environment. Working at home gives me the freedom to adjust these variables to maximum effect: Sometimes I find that I write better if I start a column after dinner, while other times I hit a wall during the middle of the day, take an hour off to get a snack and jump in the shower, and then come back to produce a magnificent column about pajamas.
You might work differently. Maybe your mind is best primed by conversations with your co-workers about Downton Abbey. That’s fine. The point—and this is hardly groundbreaking—is that different people work differently. Any organization whose success depends on maximizing its workers’ productivity ought to allow their employees some degree of flexibility.
Slate’s Farhad Manjoo says that Marissa Mayer has made a terrible mistake by implementing a new plan requiring all employees to work at Yahoo offices instead of remotely at home. I agree with Manjoo in that people work differently, and the most efficient way to work is often the one that simply works. I love having office space available to me and am at the office mostly every day. A lot of the other editors in our network prefer working from home. And sometimes, the most productive thing you can do for your job is to simply go home (which is a lesson I’m still trying to learn).
Photo: Tech Crunch50-2008