No place like home - a view on flexible working

Some of the most high-profile creative business women have gotten all uppity about home working this week.

First it was Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer, who apparently sent a business wide dictat to staff informing them they should be at their desks or join an orderly queue for their P45.

Now British Vogue's Alexandra Shulman has been quoted in the Guardian saying that working from home isn't "an adequate alternative".

I have to say I disagree with the one-size-fits-all approach but in my experience working at home full-time is really tough. I advocate flexibility and supporting work-life balance but critically it has to be implemented fairly across an organisation.

In creative businesses like publishing or t'interweb I can imagine you do need 'face time' but that can be done in a number of ways. With Skype and messenger available for free you can have face time, share documents together online as you talk. There are tools like Icloud or Dropbox to move documents securely. It does mean you need to diarise catch-up meetings and be flexible but it is wholly possible.

Physically being in the office doesn't mean you are there mentally. Putting in 7.5 hours sat in HQ doesn't mean an automatic output of 7.5 hours of high-quality work.

I am sure there is a reason for Ms Yahoo's stance, maybe there has been systematic abuse of the flexibility but surely they could have dealt with the root cause before the blanket ban?

Trust is key here and I think Marissa Mayer may run the risk of losing the trust of her team, the bedrock of successful companies. Her key people may leave, but she seems cool with that, or sick-days may increase as people rage against the machine or productivity may go down as her staff grudgingly clock in and clock out. Like I say, the fact Marissa can see lots of heads staring at monitors doesn't mean they are performing any better than if they were at home.

Battery hens eggs are smaller than free range after all.