Its an age-old question. Does "working from home" warrant its double-finger quotes skiving accusation or is it now acceptable in today's work culture? For me, the answer hasn't changed since the concept first begun, but perceptions may just finally be catching up.
Quite simply, I work to deliver outcomes and I work wherever and whenever I need to produce a quality deliverable for when its needed. I'm now old enough and confident enough to believe that the people that matter will share my philosophy (or I am in the wrong organisation).
I recently told someone at work that I would be attending a meeting by conference call as I would be working from home. They gave me that wry smile. I avoided the bait and decided not to try and defend myself by telling them how productive I was at home and how I saved time through not travelling. I resisted telling them how many hours I had already done that week and how I stayed 2 nights in a hotel working late to meet a deadline. I reminded myself of my work philosophy and how the question of where and when I work is totally irrelevant.
What I really felt like saying to my colleague was that it is just as easy to not work in the office as it is at home. It is easy to 'play the game' and make yourself look busy and hard working. It is easy to ensure you are seen early in the morning or late at night by the right people. But do people really care anymore? Do people really notice where and when you work or are they just focussed on getting the job done. Sadly, I think there are still some organisations with a culture of 'high work ethic', meaning staying long hours in the office and being rewarded for time rather than outcome. But with the cost pressure of premium office space resulting in more hot-desking, the tables are being turned and using this expensive resource is now often frowned upon. With technology support for home/mobile working, easy communication access through phone and video, employees are being given the freedom to be more flexible in their working hours and location. We are now being recognised by our product and not measured by 'clocking in'.
What I find hard to accept is those people who always work at home on the same day, usually a Friday. Is it really possible to manage your tasks every week such that you never need tyo be with your team on the same day each week. I rarely have the luxury of planning home working days very much in advance as it depends on so many other factors and people. For me, it should be about the most productive solution rather than a set approach on a regular day.
So, where and when I work is the wrong question to ask. What I produce and how much value it provides are the right things to focus on. I wonder what the new "finger quote" will be when we get our heads round the right accusation to make.