Yahoo! revokes its employee telecommuting policy. How does this affect employee satisfaction, reduce productivity or hinder working moms?
Yahoo! employees have more than two months to maximize their telecommuting freedoms because the multinational Internet corporation is terminating that company perk beginning this June. The work policy change spurs a heated dialogue and questions whether working outside office walls or inside a cubicle really affect the productivity of a company and an employee's performance.
Basic numbers in revenue relayed the idea that Yahoo! is not as productive as Google. According to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy of The Alter Group and The Huffington Post contributor Tom Silva, Google earned about $578,000 more than Yahoo!
The quick solution to start improving productivity and increase revenue is to tether employees to their desks and computers Monday through Friday on the clock. Silva explains that “more than 3 million people work exclusively from home,” and the number of telecommuters has drastically increased by more than 70 percent within the past 8 years. More than 30 million people work remotely part of the time, yet the non-progressive idea remains that employees in offices is essential.
Signs Point to Telecommuting Opportunities
Ease and accessibility to various digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and computing resources, such as cloud computing and a solid WiFi, have made it possible to work from any location, any time. With our advanced technological capabilities, employees don’t have to be 100 percent reliant on company equipment and software to work. Telecommuting benefits also include economic savings. Less dollars are spent on gas for commuting. For instance, PhillyMag.com says that telecommuting can save a person on average $1,500 annually. Not only can telecommuting save money, it can save time. Time spent getting to work, setting up for the day and socializing with co-workers is eliminated.
Even companies that encourage a casual or less rigid office environment with open, creative spaces and a loose dress code are still an office. Minds crave change, and even providing employees with one day during the week that can be worked remotely can freshen minds for creativity and new ideas. For the online children’s consignment store tredUP, work-from-home Wednesdays gives employees a single day to refocus in a new location free of distractions such as meetings and chatty co-workers. It’s a day to problem solve, concentrate and awaken the mind, and it’s improved the startup’s productivity.
Telecommuting & Motherhood
Sure, home-based employees can save money and experience more satisfaction and work-from-home days can rejuvenate and freshen employee minds. Telecommuting can even revolutionize the role of women in the workplace and at home. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating office, explains in her new book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” that telecommuting, as an alternative to spending strict hours at the office, can keep women in the workforce and provide them with the opportunity to have a family as well. Ambitious and driven women no longer have to chose between a career and family and can still offer their talents while managing the home and fulfilling the role of a mother.
Alas, Yahoo! and conventional thinking determine that employees in an office fosters company cohesion, collaboration and culture. Employees interact with teams and can reinforce goals face-to-face. Unfortunately, because Yahoo! is such an influential and visible conglomerate, this change in policy may serve as a model for other organizations to also dispute the idea of telecommuting and remote working. As a result of strict ideals, companies may be closed off from experiencing optimal productivity and benfitting from talented work by mothers who have quit their jobs to accommodate motherhood.
As a working mother, what do you think about this new policy?