Every year someone writes an article citing more research that provides evidence that people working from home are happier and more productive. I would start reading the article with much optimism, thinking back on my happy years when I worked from home. Slowly, my happy thoughts would dwindle as the reality of my situation would dawn on me: I live in South Africa and remote working in South Africa is as mythical as the Unicorn or Mermaid. If you declare that you have seen one or worse – had contact with one, you might just find yourself the centre of ridicule. Claiming that you have once worked from home for many years with a successful outcome draws much of the same scepticism and ridicule. Here are the reasons why you should insist that employees show up at the office daily.
The only good employee is one that can be micro-managed and kept under constant supervision. If an employee is not at his or her desk at work, you know they are not working. Better yet, if you catch them at their desk playing solitaire, you know they are up to no good. Source code management tools, code reviews, scrum, kanban, project management and product demonstrations have absolutely no merit – the mere presence of an employee in the office means that they are happy and productive.
Marissa Mayer, ex CEO of YAHOO, is an absolute genius and an excellent example of a people person. In 2013, she sent out the following memo: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,” the memo said. “That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.” Mayer was unable to keep web traffic and revenues from falling and left in June 2017. Company policies needn’t be based on scientific study or on results. Faith in company policy is the highest outcome.
People who work from home become isolated and it can lead to depression. Humans are meant to leave the comfort of their caves to work for their food, and there is no better way to achieve happiness than to sit inside an office with your fellow co-workers. Workers should not be given an option to come in to the office as required, but an authoritative policy requiring workers to come in every day is in the best interest of workers because workers are humans and all humans are motivated by the same principles.
Motivated and productive workers do not have families, pets, hobbies or any other interest apart from work. If you can ensure that your workers spend every last moment of their waking life driving to and from work, you can be certain that they won’t get side-tracked by a life apart from the office.
Those silly employees who complain about the 3 hours or more that they spend in traffic every day need to seriously get over their issues and move their silly family and pets to a flat in the city. A 0.5 bedroom 40sqm flat in gardens for R1,895,000 is an absolute steal and can fit any size family.
Office Internet is faster
Since the days of dial-up, business Internet has been faster and more reliable than home Internet. Fibre to the home is an experimental technology and nobody can seriously think that a 100mbps fibre connection at home is enough for an employee to work from home.
The ideas of the past are the best. Employees have traditionally worked from home and there is no need to consider alternative possibilities when there are tried and tested methods that work. Disruptive technology is the biggest load of bollocks. The taxi industry stayed true to their old methods and they are still alive. Uber-like companies are a fad and will pass in due course.