WFH or WTF? Diary of the “Working From Home” Silicon Valley Productivity Myth

“From 2005 to 2012, the U.S. workforce grew 3%, and regular telecommuters grew 66%. An impressive 64 million U.S. employees–that’s half the workforce–have the option of working from home part time.”  — From

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo to employees from HR head Jackie Reses. “We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together.”  — From

Dear Tumblr Diary:

OMG – I am soooo excited to be in my new role at WhizBangMobile. Today was my very first day in the office. I can tell that the team works really hard here – they’re super-bonded and spend all their time together in the office and even outside of it.

And everyone is sooooo nice – they somehow knew to order me my own vegan gluten-free burrito for company-catered lunch without even asking asking (like someone’s been stalking my Instagram – #VeganGlutenFreeMexicanFood rules!!)

I was also invited to play in the team’s ping pong tournament – they’re taking on the Marketing team and it’s beyond awesome that I can bring in that personalized handmade bamboo-shoot paddle that I got at my last company (also in my Instagram – #YOLO). There’s even a spot for my environmentally-and-commuter-friendly folding bike – so cool to “park” my wheels inside.

I can’t wait to see what cool stuff tomorrow brings.


Dear Tumblr Diary:

Still loving the new gig, but I’m kinda bummed –  the team isn’t in the office as much as I hoped and so I’m not getting the bonding (or the ping pong) time I was angling for when I accepted the offer (J/k!).  I’ve noticed a trend…there seems to be one or two people doing the work from home (aka “WFH”) thang each day.

It’s a little…umm…odd. They send out almost uncomfortably detailed emails about why they aren’t in the office. Like, too much detail??


Hi team,

Unfortunately I am not feeling well today. Feeling very weak and dizzy. Need to take rest and take many medicines which makes me feel sleepy. Hopefully tomorrow, I should be able to come to office. But maybe not. I may still feel weak and dizzy. Wish me luck! 

Oh, I might be able to work later today. Will be  available on chat/email phone then. But still may feel weak and dizzy.


Maybe I’m just being picky…he’s probably got that nasty Guatemalan-Peruvian-Mexican throat bug that’s been going around the New England states.


Dear Tumblr Diary:

After biking in a foggy rainstorm today and nearly getting rundown by no less that three Priuses (Pri-ii?), I arrived at the office to find that I am the only person on my 10-person team here.

Since I couldn’t even find my boss, I asked the receptionist if I was missing an offsite meeting and, after he looked up from playing CandyCrush (soooo last year) on his S4 (also soooo last year), he stared at me blankly, looking confused. After a super long pause he finally said, “Dunno, but I’m supposed to put a lunch order in for everyone on staff today so, like…?”

When I logged into my Mac, I noticed a string of WFH emails from team members – that explains it, I guess:

Hey all,

I’m going to be WFH today due to sheer and utter exhaustion from all the work I’ve been thinking about doing this week. I need to be well-rested for my personal life. Just let me know if there are any issues that need to be tackled.

Hello team,

My GF got a Wednesday part-time job. I need to drive her to work and will WFH afterwards. For the next 3 days, possibly. 

Hello everyone on the team,

With my recent travel to Bakersfield and the huge weather difference there from Sunnyvale, I had very high fever and cold in the night. Had to go to ER yesterday.
I am working from my bathroom today when I’m not vomiting.

Very truly yours,
Bros and hos, aka my teammates – You all rock. Totally. So much that I need to get a break from your awesomeness and throw back some top-shelf Margaritas (no salt – yeah, baby!) See you mañana!
Rock on, Lance

PS: I’ll be on Google Hangouts, Skype, ChatRoulette, and the usual “other” online spots (wink) if you wanna video chat (wink 2x).

Will work from home this Wednesday and Friday to give my body and my back a break.
For those of you who didn’t know, my regular daily commute is ~ 4 hours each day that makes me very tired each day for work.

With rain it is 6 hours.. I hate rain.

Hmm…could this really be just about the weather or is there something else….??? Nah, everyone here works really hard and loves each other. Must be just a fluke.


Dear Tumblr Diary:

Okay, this is just getting to be too much. It’s the third day in a row that I’ve been the only person working in the office. This place is a freakin’ ghost town from 9 to 5. I feel like I’m the only one who makes the effort to come in.

The WFH log is getting more and more…well…here’s a sampling; you be the judge:

Hello again everyone on the team,

I woke up today with a sinus pain that made me think I had a brain injury when I went to Bakersfield as there was turbulence on the plane.

I am seeing double and sometimes triple. Also I have constipation. ;(

My mother says to go to the ER again because I may have a concussion or a bowel obstruction. I will keep you posted on any scans and tests and will send pics.

Very truly yours,
Dude Bros —

I’m having a killer time getting my work done at the beach with my dog hanging out with me (he’s a serious chick magnet). I’ll be hangin’ on the line in the usual spots (get it – on the line? Like Vince Vaughan in that Google flick from last year?) I crack myself up!

LOL Lance


I will WFH this week to focus more time on the work than on the commute of 3-4+ hours. That is when the weather is good. When it is not good, remember, it is almost 6, sometimes 8 hours in traffic. And that’s if there’s no accidents anywhere along the route.

Thanks for being so understanding because The Traffic isn’t,

Hello Team,

My GF’s parents are going to arrive from Topeka this morning. I need to pick them up then and prepare tons of things for them. Will work from home once they are settled.
I also need to drop her off and pick her up from her part-time Wed job today and tomorrow. And her parents. 

And what’s worse – no one’s ever “online” (or “on the line, Lance”) when they say the will be – they’re all permanently in a state of “away.”

I’m starting to feel isolated.

I’m also starting to feel like the only person who’s doing any work around here….


Dear Tumblr Diary:

I think I may have actually had it. Not only were we supposed to have a huge IN PERSON team planning meeting this morning, for which I brought my favorite vegan gluten-free bagels and soy cheese topping, but we had our first big ping-pong match with the Marketers this afternoon. So I was stuck with 20 bagels going stale and a bunch of gloating marketeers as we were forced to forfeit the match.

I was the ONLY person in the conference room, with the rest of my team all connecting into a Google Hangout and getting disconnected at random times; and of course, no one could really hear anyone else because the sound and video quality frankly sucks hard.

But that’s not even the point. Why is the company even bothering to rent office space if no one ever comes in (no one but me, it seems).

Even Mr. CandyCrush Receptionist wasn’t in today – he emailed in a WFH day (how on earth do you WFH when you’re the company receptionist??? Video cam? Really.)

My boss did stop in today to ask me how things were going (I haven’t actually physically seen him since my first day here).

When I asked him if I could work from home, he got a little uncomfortable and said, “Well, not yet – we really need you to be in the office full-time since you’re new – you gotta bond with the team and learn to collaborate with everyone.”


Dear Tumblr Diary:

Today is my first WFH day. My boss finally relented after I promised, PROMISED, that I’d be online the entire time, collaborating for the full 8 hours with the other team members. 

While I can’t actually connect with anyone online to collaborate (they’re all in an “away” state and no one’s responding to email or What’sApp), I have to say that I’m loving this “WFH” thing. I’m still in my pajamas at 1 pm, haven’t showered, and can watch all the streamed Hulu and Netflix shows I want.

And I feel SOOOO much more productive this way. I mean, I don’t even have to change into real clothes.

Here’s the message I sent out to the team – I think it’s a good balance of “professional meets whimsical”

Dear truly awesome, hard-working rockstar teammates,

I will be working at home today where I plan to log my usual 14+ hours of concentrated work. I’ll also be cooking a full vegan turkey dinner while listening to Shakespeare on Pandora (haha! J/K about the dinner – it’s full vegan chicken!)

Please contact me in any one of the following ways:

Skype: WhizBangMobile_MyTeamSux
G+: BiteMe_WhizBangMobile_Team
AIM: Who uses AIM???
Email: [email protected]
Email 2: [email protected]
Email 3: [email protected]
Twitter: @FakeWhizBangMobile_Sux
Mobile (text only, please): 415-555-1211

NOW I really feel like I’m part of the team here!

This is going to be such a great LinkedIn profile builder job for me!