Here’s more on what workplace experts have to say about Yahoo’s recent decision to do away with its telecommuting policy.
In case you haven’t been following along at home, here’s the skinny: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer last week announced in an internal communication (that was later leaked) that come June, employees would no longer be able to work from home.
You can imagine the uproar from not only employees but workplace and management experts across America.
That’s especially true in the light that telecommuting continues to rise in popularity, with nearly 10% of all U.S. employees working from home at least one day a week as of 2010.
Add to that studies that have shown telecommuting can boost retention, engagement and morale, and you have a decision that’s going to raise the ire of all sorts of people.
George Hutchinson, writing on StarTribune, sees Yahoo’s no-telecommuting move, which was recently adopted by Best Buy as well, as a great way to destroy workers’ creativity and make for a stressful work environment:
“… we can examine this decision using caveman logic:
“If workers are not sitting at their desks, they must be goofing off and wasting time. Only direct and persistent visual surveillance by superiors can ensure that the company is receiving the full benefit of the labor of these conniving, cheating slackers we hire to perform menial tasks at the lowest possible wages. Even then we will lay off a bunch of them, just because we can. The rest can work harder.
“The new corporate style — ironically implemented by women with small children — is to return to the 1950s corporate-conformity model pioneered by the blue suits at IBM. The assumption is that employees are not to be trusted but must be carefully supervised, lest they stray from the divine pathway of corporate groupthink.”
These are unique situations
“Unless you’re at a struggling company desperate to turn business around, working from home is here to stay. The changes at Best Buy and Yahoo are unique; they come amid hard times in which both companies have tapped new CEOs to turn things around.
“What’s happening at Yahoo and Best Buy won’t likely carry over to healthy companies. After all, corporate America still sees the benefits of the home office.
“Years from now, if Yahoo and Best Buy turn their businesses around, it may not be that surprising to find their employees back at their home offices.”
No telecommuting = bad for business
“It’s hard to overstate the value of being able to work at home on a day when the cable guy is coming sometime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or when your kid is home from school with a fever. Flexibility is one of the things employees regularly say is important to them.
“I’d add another item to that list of important things: Being able to have a life outside your job and a boss who understands that need.
“Somewhere in the digital age and the recession, the idea that we have families and kids and friends who we’d like to see outside the office got lost if not deeply watered down.
“… what’s most remarkable [is that] having workers stay late isn’t just unhealthy for the workers, it’s also not such a great thing for the company either. A Harvard Business school professor and researcher found that all those extra hours spent connected to the office don’t actually improve worker productivity. Rather it’s the opposite. Worker productivity actually improves if the worker is allowed to have a life outside the office…”