Working from home can be an effective, popular and flexible approach to the work day, of which WE are a fond supporter. It’s not a one-approach fits all idea. Just ask Yahoo’s bright and shiny new CEO, Marissa Mayer who recently ended Yahoo’s work-from-home policy. The change, announced by the company’s human resources chief is expected to affect hundreds of employees and the many companies that will follow Yahoo’s so called lead. Every techie we know has asked our thoughts on the policy change; and well, we think it sucks for those who enjoy the work-from-home experience and are effective at it.
That being said, I don’t know the details of the mess Mayer walked into, and I’m not going to jump right on the bandwagon of those who say it’s a major setback for the telecommuting community (and the many parents who juggle it all). Sure, it’s not great to hear about the end of those rights, and we’d admittedly be peeved as well. But it’s possible this is what she needed to do to get a handle on the current situation to help increase collaboration and personal interface and unite the company. Yahoo needs to rebuild. I understand the necessity to collect and assess. Maybe this is what Yahoo needs to succeed. As a Yahoo user I certainly hope they do! My only wish is that after Yahoo gets back on their feet over the next few years, employees will again have the option to work from home, even if it’s a few days a week. A big part of why I’m an effective remote worker bee is because I love it. Working from a non-traditional office space (so I’m not sitting in a boring, sterile environment all day) gets my juices flowing, helps me to be creative and gives me the motivation I need to do well. The trick is to be cognizant of what’s good for you and your company.
We believe it works because it’s often good business, for the community, your employers and your company. Here are some of the many benefits that telecommuting offers…
- Expands the talent pool- more talent options
- Reduces turnover and absenteeism
- Improves employee morale
- Reduces the spread of illness
- Reduces costs (such as real estate footprint, supplies, coffee)
- Increases productivity
- Reduces company carbon footprint and energy usage
- Offers a means of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
- Enhances continuity-of-operations strategies
- Improves ability to handle business across multiple time zones/augments cultural adaptability
- Saves some companies approximately $20,000 PER EMPLOYEE
- Improves work-life balance
- Less gas consumption
- Frees up the equivalent of 15 to 25 workdays a year—time that would have been spent commuting
- Saves between $4,000 and $21,000 per year in work-related costs
- Allows for additional concentrated hours without office side talk
- Increases productivity and moral
- Reduction in traffic congestion/traffic accidents
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment
Increased productivity is the biggie here. Why? Well, a company can create an environment that’s friendly and works for everybody. When you’re given the ability to be accommodated, and prioritize in a way that helps you to live your life and produce work, you’ll appreciate it. Not everyone gets that, and thus will want to remain a valuable asset to your company by giving back. Employees don’t need to worry about the rare emergencies that come up, like a sick child home from school one day or an elderly or sick parent who needs help. As long as they maintain productivity, employees can manage both responsibilities. While I do respect Yahoo’s efforts, I hope it’s temporary.
Mayer’s decision has met quite a bit of criticism, such as from mega-mogul Richard Branson, but regardless of opinion, I believe it’s important to avoid attributing Yahoo’s success or failure to this one decision. A recent Yahoo statement said that “this isn’t a broad industry view on working from home — this is about what is right for Yahoo right now.” And clearly Mayer believes that this will be an effective part of her overall push to get the company back on track…but it’s only a part. She will undoubtedly put other wheels in motion, and though those in the blogosphere and twittosphere love to be generalists and may not read past the headlines, there will be more to Yahoo’s success or failures then this policy. Let’s take note of all the good that can come from working from home, but with that understanding that it may not be the right thing for your company or for you, and that’s OK (although some talented may not apply). Lucky for me, and other entrepreneurs, I won’t be getting a letter like this from my boss anytime soon! Thank goodness for entrepreneurship-