Late in February, Yahoo! HR Head Jackie Reses sent out a memo to all staff, saying that employees are no longer allowed to work from home. The memo states that being one Yahoo! “starts with physically being together”. The new stance raised more than a few eyebrows, and many companies could not help but reflect on their own policies on telecommuting.
Corporations who are undergoing an office relocation often have to choose between telecommuting or setting up a temporary location. Temporary office locations mean added expenses that may take away from the relocation budget. They may also cause more stress and disruption for employees. Telecommunication, however, is often a worrisome solution for employers, as they worry that productivity and communication channels will be compromised if employees telecommute during corporate relocation process.
When the Best Ideas Happen
The reason for Yahoo!’s telecommuting ban is cited in the same Jackie Reses’ memo: “Some of the best decisions and insights come from the hallway and cafeteria discussions meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.”
There may be a grain of truth to this—but is it really necessary to impose a blanket restriction on telecommuting? After all, not everyone’s job description requires creative thinking. Many companies hire employees to perform largely routine, administrative, or operational tasks. For these tasks, the above reasoning does not apply. In fact, it might even be more reasonable to let them work from home when circumstances require it—during an office relocation—as long as there are target goals that they must accomplish for the day.
When Employees Are More Productive
Granted that one’s home contains distractions, from the lure of the television to the comfy bed, that can easily hamper the productivity of anyone working at home. However, a report from Brad Harrington of Boston College Center for Work & Family suggests that the potential for distractions does not necessarily outweigh the benefits for both employees and employers. According to the research, telecommuting results in less stress and more productivity. Working from home allows employees to achieve optimum balance between personal life and work, which may result in higher output.
What it all comes right down to is that telecommuting has its perks, but it also has its clear disadvantages. For companies undergoing a corporate relocation, they might not have a choice but to let their employees work from home. This doesn’t have to worry management as long as there are clear target goals and deliverables. The progress of your organization should move along just fine.
Find the above and more Dilbert telecommuting cartoons here.