The Engineering Life - Around the Web
Yahoo's new policy against working at home wouldn't work for me. What do engineers think?
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Do you work at home? Would you rebel if the corporation locked you back in a Dilbert-style cubicle?
That’s the question being debated around Silicon Valley this week thanks to Marrisa Mayer’s new corporate policy ending work-at-home for Yahoo. “We need to be one Yahoo,” she says.
I’ve been working at home for years now, and I love it. And I suspect my employer does, too. For the price of a laptop and smartphone the company gets me 24/7/365—and it has to pay for 12 square feet less floor space in downtown San Francisco.
I get to take a break whenever I feel like it, pick up my guitar, raid the fridge or go for a walk. I used to get so stale in the office by 3 pm that I am sure I wasn’t doing my best work, and I wondered if I was doing any effective work at all. Now sometimes when I have an idea for a story at 5 am or 10 pm, I get up and start writing it.
I’ve seen the massive open-plan offices in Tokyo where salarymen and women feel they must stay until 9 or 10 or 11 at night to keep face as a hard worker. What a sham and a waste!
But what does it mean for engineers? Is design inherently collaborative? Do you need more interaction than you can get from Skype?
I know these days design is global. Teams in Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Shenzhen and elsewhere are routinely part of the overall team—so some long distance collaboration comes with the territory. What does that mean for people who choose to work at home although they live in the same city?
These are questions I cannot answer, but I’d like to hear from the readers of EE Times—both bench engineers and engineering managers responsible to get a product out the door from a team of engineers some of whom might work at home. So tell me, what do you do and think about design-at-home?