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Working Together… From Home

Working Together… From Home


Mar 7 2013
A message to Marissa Mayer: It's not where we work, but how we work that matters.

The news that Yahoo—under the direction of CEO Marissa Mayer, a brand new mom herself—will revoke employees' work-from-home benefits vigorously renewed America's ongoing discussion on work-life balance. Mayer was hired, at 37 years old and five months pregnant, to turn Yahoo around, and if the Yahoos (what employees call themselves) are slacking off from home, then perhaps this is a wise move.

When rival company Google was asked how many of its employees work remotely, CFO Patrick Pinchette said: "As few as possible. There is something magical about spending time together."

I believe God himself said something similar way back in the beginning. God's declaring Adam's aloneness "not good" didn't only apply to sex and procreation. Surely the "magic" that happens when humans work together in Gardens of Eden or Valleys of Silicon had something to do with God's creating a mighty colleague for Adam.

We were made to spend time together, to work together. To put it churchily, we were "created for community," and that community includes our work. We were made to brainstorm and share and build and collaborate. We were made to come alongside and carry each others' loads and challenge and soften or sharpen each other, depending. And I believe God smiles when this happens and that more often than not, good things—or "magic" if you will—come from this God-ordained working together.

And yet, as much as I understand Mayer's decision and as much as I agree with the magic of spending time together, I wonder if she and other opponents of working from home are missing out on a more comprehensive understanding of what "working together" really looks like in the 21st century.

Working from home for the past 11 years saved my sanity by allowing me to use and stretch my non-mom gifts in the daily grind of motherhood. Aside from its sanity-saving benefits, working from home has budget-saving perks too. And I won't lie: it's wonderful being able to enjoy the flexibility to dash out to volunteer at school, to be home to wait six hours for the plumber, to not panic on snow days. It's for these reasons I thank God for jobs that come with the at-home option.

The ability to work at home has not only been good for me financially and mentally, it's been good for me as a worker. As much as I love my colleagues and in-the-flesh meetings and brainstorming sessions, as much as I love the serendipitous hallway chats that lead to bigger ideas and all sorts of "magic," truth be told: I do my best work when given time and space to be alone.

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