To Telecommute Or No?


Mar, 13

To Telecommute Or No?

Social media was all abuzz earlier last week as the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, shut down the telecommuting option formerly available at the IT business. The move seemed a bit old school, especially surprising since Mayer is young enough to be savvy about the collaboration and communication tools — powered by the cloud — that provide the backbone for today’s remote workforce. Reaction was split – with some applauding her move to get her team under one roof, while others ridiculed the decision as a return to the suffocating HR rules of the 80s and 90s.

Here is what I found interesting, the following research shows that in most cases, remote workers perform well (Thanks to the Huffington Post for these):

– A Stanford study reports that call center employees increased their performance by 13% when working from home. They also reported “improved work satisfaction and experienced less turnover.”

– A University of Texas at Austin study from last year found that those who work from home “add five to seven hours to their workweek compared with those who work exclusively at the office.” As a remote worker, I’ll vouch for that.

– A Bureau of Labor Statistics study, also from last year, reported that working remotely “seems to boost productivity, decrease absenteeism and increase retention.”

That said, according to recent research published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, bosses are roughly 9% more likely to consider you “dependable” and “responsible” if you “put in expected face time” Translation: Show your mug now and then, if for no other reason than to catch up.

I’m interested, if you were a Yahoo employee, is this reason enough to go looking elsewhere? If you were considering a job at Yahoo, would no telecommuting be a deal breaker? And, will more companies try this approach? I suppose only time will tell.

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