The newest occupant of the corner office at Yahoo made a tough and surprising call a couple of weeks ago when she put an end to telecommuting. Despite being new to the company and expecting her first child, Marissa Mayer has evidently taken a hard look at how things work at beleaguered Yahoo and decided the work at home option that so many of her employees had chosen may be more of a problem than a solution. Learn why columnist Anne-Marie Slaughter in her recent article in the Atlantic thinks that Marissa Mayer’s Job is to be CEO, Not Make Life Easier for Working Moms.” This article, unsurprisingly, prompted not a little controversy. (Check out the numerous comments at the end of the article for an interesting discussion.)
Within a couple of days of the Yahoo announcement, Best Buy’s new CEO, Hubert Joly, made the same call by putting an end to the practice of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) that Best Buy had popularized, and which allowed employees to work at home as long as they were achieving their objectives. The new Best Buy policy does allow for some telecommuting exceptions at management’s discretion.
During my one-to-one coaching sessions with my Vistage CEO Peer Group members, I have found a wide range of opinions on this. Some say this totally validates their distrust of work at home policies. Others recognize that they have scores of geographically distributed people productively working out of their homes, and that centrally locating these people is not feasible or desirable. In either case, telecommuting is probably not going away entirely, and we need to better understand in what situations it works and how we can make it more effective.
That is where you come in. So kind readers, please reply to this post with your comments.
I am looking for your brief observations and quick stories of a paragraph or less in length. In a couple of weeks I’ll summarize your answers and add some insights of my own on how to get the most out of telecommuting. Thank you for participating!