Telecommuting Does Not Always Equate to Great Company Culture

lindsey-gurian by

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently announced that remote employees would no longer be permitted to, well, work remotely. Telecommuting, she said, is not in the current best interests of the company.

telecommutingEver since then, it seems like every link I click on takes me to someone waxing poetic about company culture and how they fully support (or go against) the recent changes that Mayer made. Even worse, each of those articles links the decision to drastic changes in company culture at Yahoo! — for better or worse.

I’d like to explore a different angle of this debate — the mentality that, as a collective workforce, we are entitled to work from our pajamas.

It is not strange to me that people enjoy the flexibility of working from home, but rather that it seems that telecommuting is synonymous with good corporate culture. Are we all that shallow that we are wooed by the sirens call of working from our homes? I am not saying there is anything wrong with telecommuting, but I am saying that we shouldn’t write a company off for not offering it.

Over the past couple of years I have lost some great candidates because they do not want to make the commitment to showing up at the office everyday. Yes, I do understand people have commitments such as families, and I do understand it is absolutely necessary for certain people to be allowed the flexibility to work from home. What I am referring to here is the vast majority of people who can go into an office, but would rather not entertain opportunities that require them to. Commuting has become such an issue for people that they are avoiding it all together, figuring, “Hey, I’ll find a job that allows me to work from home!”

I want to convey to you as readers that passing up an opportunity to move forward in your career because you cannot possibly give up on the convenience of working from your home office is foolish. Company culture and working from home (or telecommuting) are not synonymous. We all want to work for companies that value our time, but is working from home the only way a company can do that? I would argue that people who work from home probably feel more pressure to stay “online” long after the rest of us have closed our laptops.

Company culture involves much more than where you spend your day.

Just because a company is not offering you a seat in your living room, does not mean they are antiquated, nor that their culture is not vibrant. Personally, I encourage people regardless of their role to spend time in the office. Building relationships with people happens in-person, not through a smartphone or computer.

For people who insist they will not commute to a job, and that a company that requires people to be present in the office is not progressive, I urge you to reconsider. You may be missing out on working for some amazing companies.