It goes without saying that many businesses, small and large, embrace telecommuting for a variety of reasons. Some companies offer the ability to work from home as a perk to help lure top talent. Others like promoting a green workplace by encouraging staff to drive fewer trips between home and office. Some like the cost savings they realize by reducing the amount of square footage required to accommodate their headcount. Many companies believe certain employees become more productive when they remove themselves from the office environment.
Whatever the rationale, it’s clear that workplace flexibility, and telecommuting in particular, is here to stay and will become even more prevalent.
However, there are many other companies that view employees’ requests to work from home as requests to be lazy. Perhaps some of them in the past had entrusted staff members to telecommute only to have that trust violated by individuals who either failed to maintain an acceptable level of productivity or who blatantly disregarded their responsibilities once beyond the confines of in-office oversight.
Obviously there are those employees who will take advantage of their newfound “freedom” by choosing to focus on things other than their professional duties. And if an employer gets burned too often, it’s understandable that they would discontinue their telecommuting policy.
In general, I think it’s safe to say the companies that allow and/or encourage their staff to work from home are viewed as innovative, whereas those that do not, especially those that operate the types of businesses that are conducive to flexible workplaces, are viewed as archaic.
Which is why I found a recent story on Wired.com regarding the decision to ban telecommuting by Yahoo’s relatively new CEO, Marissa Mayer, so interesting.
After all, Yahoo once was Silicon Valley’s poster child of innovation, and the fact that the company has encountered such hardship during the past decade is often attributed to its failure to stay innovative.
But as mentioned in the Wired.com article, “Some current and former Yahoo employees have reportedly said the new policy will separate out the truly productive workers from the stay-at-home slackers who abuse the system.”
There’s no doubt that Ms. Mayer rose to her current rank because she’s an incredibly sharp, progressive-minded woman. So I think it’s a safe bet that Yahoo’s new anti-telecommuting position was a calculated move; one that she believes will return the company to its position as a powerhouse of innovation, even if some employees decry the change as archaic.
I’m curious to know your opinions about the pros and cons of telecommuting, so please leave your comments below.
Thanks for reading.