Home Office: Killing your teams softly

Executive summary: If you want to have great teams, stop allowing home office.


A recently widespread fashion of the modern workplace is the extensive use of home office. It is a practice that is incompatible with the cornerstone of Agile: Creating great teams.


The Home Office Delusion

There’s a major misunderstanding about the home office. It has been shown that home office can increase employee productivity, engagement and loyalty. True, if employees need to survive their workdays, it’s easier for them to survive from home, away from the usual office distraction, control freak boss, ill-managed project and alienated colleagues. But if the alternative is to work on a meaningful project as a member of a jelled team in a supportive environment, survival is no priority but a triviality. Home office is a quick and superficial solution far more inferior to making work a satisfying experience.

As a challenger of superficial solutions, I suggest you to refrain from making home office a standard workplace practice. Instead, do everything to forge great teams. Great teams do not work from home.

Note: Banning home office is not a good idea either. Sometimes you can help out a colleague in trouble by allowing home office temporarily. It shouldn’t be the rule, but the exception.

  • Patrick Cöper

    2018-12-23 at 11:52 am Reply

    Thanks for the thought-provoking impulse. I recently started a job in a company where working from home became kind of a standard. My team mates usually stay at home once a week (mostly on fridays…you get the idea). I did the same in the beginning and even though I experience no lack of productivity (meaning I don’t get distracted as much as I thought I would) I do feel kind of disconnected from the team. Because even with mobile phones and video chats it’s not the same as going to your colleagues desk and discussing problems face-to-face.

    • Jan Farkas

      2019-01-03 at 5:05 am Reply

      Thank you for your input, Patrick! Having every team member taking the same day for home office is a great intermediate solution which already dampens the pain a lot — this is something I suggest my clients after making sure that home office is really needed. Even with this you can feel the difference, though. I’ve been working with companies where everybody chose a different day for doing home office. You can imagine, one could barely find a day where the whole team was present…

      By the way, this applies also to part-time employment.

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