You can read the full statement here, but her thoughts can be summed up by the following statement:
“Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. Being at Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.”
After these comments leaked, the web lit up with hundreds of reactions. Google sort of concurred, which caused further controversy. Richard Branson was quick off the mark to defend home working, citing technology and common sense as good alternatives. He went as far as to say, offices as we know them today just won’t exist in the near future.
This got us thinking. We help lots of companies implement technology that enables remote working. SharePoint is one such tool. Deployed in the correct way it provides secure access to a company's resources via the web. It really doesn’t matter where employees login from. SharePoint 2013 in particular offers improved support for mobile devices, so grabbing a document on your smart phone is not only possible but actually now very easy to do.
Lync is another great tool for helping those employees that are based away from the office. It allows users anywhere in the world to chat, text, hold meetings and share content. It’s really neatly integrated with the rest of Office 365, as well as Outlook and the Office suite.
I think most commentators would agree technology isn’t 100% of the answer when it comes to changing working practices. Common sense always plays a part in these things, and balance and compromise are key. Sometimes there is just no substitute for sitting next to a co-worker and speaking to them directly.
However technologies like Office 365 make working from home easier than it has ever been when it is necessary or desirable. Employees get to work in a familiar online environment with access to their own documents. They can collaborate easily and even talk and message as if they were in the same location. Richard Branson might just be right, maybe offices aren’t the future, what is certain is Office 365 is certainly going to have a big say in shaping things.