Yahoo!’s CEO Marissa Mayer set off a firestorm with the company’s recent mandate that they will discontinue telecommuting. Today, it appears that Best Buy will also follow suit.
I’ve been reading Internet commentary on the issue with interest, as I’ve worked from home for the past seven years. I go into the office for certain meetings, and when my manager calls a team meeting, but if I don’t have to, I happily avoid the 90-mile round trip jag between my home and a desk in Reston.
As you wade through the various responses and theories (one interesting speculation is that Yahoo! is doing this to encourage employees to quit, rather than announce layoffs), a rational observation is that telecommuting works in some situations and doesn’t in others. But to say that collaboration and effective work can only happen when everyone is in the same place is, in my opinion, untrue.
I have seen the area of the company that I work for succeed with a workforce that is scattered across the country. We utilize teleconferencing a lot, and we instant message and text as well. I’ve never been unable to get an answer to a problem or customer issue because someone wasn’t sitting at a desk.
Personally, telecommuting is a lifesaver. We absolutely cannot afford to live in Northern VA, and now that I have children, that 75-90 minute commute each way would be hell. I am praying that Ms. Mayer’s mandate remains an exception, and never again becomes the workplace norm!
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