Hewlett Packard is reported to have joined Yahoo in discouraging employees from working from home.
According to an internal memo sent to technology news website AllThingsD, the company has changed its homeworking policy in order to create “a more connected workforce and drive greater collaboration and innovation.”
The memo says: “During this critical turnaround period, HP needs all hands on deck. We recognise that in the past, we may have asked certain employees to work from home for various reasons. We now need to build a stronger culture of engagement and collaboration and the more employees we get into the office the better company we will be.”
However, the company denies this is a move against flexible working, which it says it continues to embrace. It says there has been no change of policy, but that the company has been focusing on providing more in office opportunities and making coming to the office more attractive.
Tim Clapham, director at Planon, provider of integrated facility management and sustainability software, said: “Forcing people to work in offices will certainly not guarantee increased productivity, and in many cases may decrease it instead. Employees already spend far too much time on non-productive meetings, and these tend to last even longer when they are held face-to-face . As such, flexible working is a sensible option for forward thinking businesses wanting to boost productivity and employee satisfaction.
“HP may also be overlooking other benefits of homeworking, including the huge opportunity to save money by reducing the need for expensive office space – especially relevant for companies of HP’s size. Instead of forcing employees to work in the office, companies like HP should take the time to see how much of their space is actually being utilised effectively right now. This may reveal large swathes of commercial property actually being underused, which could be offloaded without any detriment to the business. By taking this approach, energy consumption can also be reduced therefore decreasing costs and improving a company’s carbon footprint, both for real estate and commuting.
“Measuring workplace occupancy and aligning resources accordingly can therefore result in considerable cost savings, deliver environmental commitments and support more flexible working, all at the same time.
“It is important for businesses to keep in mind, work is something that you do, not somewhere you go.”