After Yahoo, HP now also bans working from home

According to this article, HP has followed Yahoo in severely limiting when employees can work from home. From the memo to HP’s employees:

“During this critical turnaround period, HP needs all hands on deck. We recognize that in the past, we may have asked certain employees to work from home for various reasons. We now need to build a stronger culture of engagement and collaboration and the more employees we get into the office the better company we will be.”

I don’t buy it. Working from home doesn’t always make sense, but it makes perfect sense for many people in many situations. Working form home occasionally can actually make people more productive, because it eliminates many of the distractions in the workplace.

HP cite the crisis they find themselves in as an excuse, saying that they need “all hands on deck.” Again, I don’t buy it. Why should working from home be fine in good times, but bad in tough times?

Here’s what I think is going on: When a company is in trouble and executives are feeling the squeeze, they often experience a desire for more control. One way to have that is to force employees into the office.

If there’s one thing I admire, it’s leaders who, in tough times, can stick to the same values and principles they espouse in good times. This is a good example.

5 thoughts on “After Yahoo, HP now also bans working from home”

  1. HP is a sad but perfect example of a company that had a “soul”, a direction, values to which people would commit to, whether at home or at the office — for as long as H or P were alive. Then it turned into Carly’s happy Corporate world, for the worse. Instead of telling people, “what could you do to help?”, they make such “from the top” decisions that just demotivate everybody.

    But again, I think few people realize what a mess it must be in there, and how people must be lost and frightened even at the highest level. I think few people are willing to admit how *insane* it can go, in those companies that start to feel the pressure and don’t know how to handle it.

    Then again, read http://www.raptitude.com/2013/09/an-interview-with-the-man/ : HP is still able to find employees, so…

  2. The team at 37signals is about to publish its new book, praising remote working and how you no longer need offices today. I intend to read it as soon as it’s released – http://37signals.com/remote

    I like your analogy on exerting more control. It is probably about that. But also keep in mind that you need the right people for a remote team to be efficient…

  3. This is absurd! The benefits from working from home – for the right employee- have been proven over and over and over again. What about retaining great employees “during this critical turnaround period”? Just another reason why I’m an entrepreneur and always will be and why those I work with also get the heeby jeebies just thinking about going back to that limiting mindset.

  4. True leadership is about how you behave during tough times. When the goings good its easy for anybody to be a leader. But when times are tough the true leaders stand out. Employees always remember how they were treated during toght times and that would have an influence on what they decide to do when the goings good.

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