To telecommute or not to

Telecommuting has become a hot topic again since Feb. 22, 2013, when an internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo was leaked to the press.

The new policy requires that all Yahoo employees must work on site full time, thus ending the telecommuting practice. The changes begin in June.

One Yahoo employee called the new policy “outrageous and a morale killer.” Now Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is coming under fire for an ‘awful’ call.

Just a few days later, on March 5, Best Buy followed Yahoo’s lead and enacted a policy requiring employees to drive into the office. See the Star Tribune article Best Buy ends flexible work program for its corporate employees.

Unlike Yahoo’s policy, Best Buy managers still have the ability to accommodate the occasional employee wanting to work from home, which is important given Minnesota’s harsh winters, where driving to work can be a challenge.

There is a debate going on again about telecommuting.

I think it’s a valid concern for employers about lack of productivity and collaboration when employees telecommute 5 days a week, but I don’t see any problem with telecommuting 1-2 days a week. I think ending the telecommuting practice outright is not a good idea. At the minimum, telecommuting should be allowed or encouraged when we have snowstorms or other family emergencies (a sick child, a broken furnace, etc.)

I asked a few friends who work for different companies in Twin Cities. They have no problem with their companies to do telecommuting when we have snowstorms like we had today.

I am out of luck.

4 Responses to To telecommute or not to

  1. joe says:

    I telemute full time. My other coworkers do as well. We are more productive, mainly because we spend less time commuting, less time walking around the building, and our meetings are far shorter and more productive.

  2. Wen says:

    I echo Lynn. I’ve teleworked in an executive position full time for nearly 4 years and my colleagues are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met, routinely logging 60+ hour workweeks and growing a company during trying times. teleworking works great for many people– it seems to be a policy and management problem, truthfully.

  3. Lynn Wehrman says:

    Also, limiting the number of telecommute days doesn’t mean employees are more productive or trustworthy when working from home. If our managers can’t trust people to get work done on their own, they aren’t going to work out long term. It’s that simple.

  4. Lynn Wehrman says:

    It’s fairly widely acknowledged that these corporations are ending their telework programs as a measure to induce voluntary resignations prior to looming layoffs. My company is one of the growing number of organization operating almost entirely virtually. I can attest that I’ve never managed more productive, responsible employees in a “seat-in-a-chair” standard office structure. I also belief the PR from this will hurt Yahoo and Best Buy.

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