Sunday, March 24, 2013

Work at Home v. Work at the Office

Recently, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, issued an edict terminating all work-at-home arrangements at the company.  Here is an excerpt from her memo:

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. [&] Beginning in June, we're asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration.

The memo got me to thinking about the trend for law professors to work at home and, except for classes and faculty meetings, to work at home as much as possible. I concede that for some, working at home is very productive. However, I know that for people like me, working at home offers temptations to take a nap, turn on the TV, and explore the fridge.

But even for those who work better at home, they miss out on opportunities to share ideas with colleagues, be available to students, and play a more significant role in actively working with their students and playing a more significant role in the life of their law school. Another consequence: Those of us who spend time in our offices end up being asked to take on more obligations with students. Don’t get me wrong. Working with students is the reason that I chose to be a law professor. However, sometimes I get overloaded and wish others would help out.


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