Why Working at Home Can Be a Bad Idea

Slate's Katie Roiphe thinks a clear separation helps creativity
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2013 6:16 PM CST
Why Working at Home Can Be a Bad Idea

Marissa Mayer's decree requiring that Yahoo employees stop working from home and instead schlep to the office has set off a wave of pro and con arguments. Count Katie Roiphe of Slate, who has experience in both worlds, in Mayer's camp. When you work from home, you're distracted in countless subtle ways, she writes. Maybe it's the kids in the next room, or the argument you had last night, or the recollection that the cable bill is due. Heading into an office, or even a coffee shop with the laptop, provides clearer separation.

"Is it possible that our ideas, our creativity, our wilder bursts of thought are often, or at least sometimes better achieved outside the home, in a more neutral space?" she asks. Rudimentary measurements of productivity on the part of home workers can miss this crucial element. What's more, this "work-life balance" works in reverse. It will help your home life to keep work at work, even if you have only a "tiny sliver of a chance of keeping the office and the thousands of meaningless work details and memos and preoccupations out of your home." Click for the full column. Or click for fellow Slate writer Farhad Manjoo's contention that Yahoo's Mayer is way off base. (More work stories.)

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