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Addendum on Yahoo!

Just a brief addendum to my post of a few days ago regarding Yahoo!‘s change in policy on telecommuting.

As it turns out, apparently CEO Marissa Mayer based the decision on a review of VPN logins which indicated that, in fact, the work-from-home crew wasn’t really working as much as the work-at-work crew, after all.  They were not logging in enough, and that is the basis of the change in policy — a need for increased productivity.

As I noted in my earlier post, this can be an issue, and so this piece of news comes as hardly a surprise to me.  Neither is the related bit of news that this change, rather than being a morale killer in general for people who work for Yahoo!, has actually been a morale booster for the majority who do not telecommute:

Likewise, we’re hearing from people close to Yahoo executives and employees that she made the right decision banning work from home.

“The employees at Yahoo are thrilled,” says one source close to the company.

“There isn’t massive uprising. The truth is, they’ve all been pissed off that people haven’t been working.”

Again, what I would expect to be the case.  Telecommuting boosts morale for those who are working (often less) from home, while it hurts the morale of those who are working (often more) in the office.  This underscores my belief that most of the whining about this on the internet has come from people who like to work from home themselves, knowing full well the costs and benefits of this to the company as a whole, and not from people who actually, you know, go to work every day.

4 Responses

  1. deti

    Working from home is a good thing — when you have to do it. Otherwise, working at an office or with other coworkers is the way to go. The collegial environment is most conducive to productivity and learning; is freer from distraction; and promotes getting to know one’s coworkers which also enhances productivity. Work is for work, and home is for leisure.

  2. Escoffier

    I’m sure this is right in the main but as ever, there are exceptions. My wife had a telecommuting job for a while. She started on site (really, at client sites, she was almost never in her company’s office) and when I got another job that required a move to another city, they begged her to stay with the firm and set her up with a VPN. Since her job was basically de-bugging code, it could be done from anywhere with a terminal. She liked that arrangement and only quit when baby #1 was born.

    She is a real worker, though, not a slacker. Plus the nature of the job was solitary. A problem would be identified, sent to her, and she fixed it. Required some phone time but nothing face-to-face. Ih fact, for the four years she did it, she never went to the office once! The other advantage was, since they had clients all over, it didn’t matter who had a problem, she could fix stuff for all of them. Whereas when she was on site, she basically worke only for that particular client, whcih resulted in a lot of down time.

    One other thing, B, this is not just an issue for knowledge workers. It’s also big for lower-end workers to, for instance call-takers for various customer service functions. And I can tell you that companies DO save big money by shutting down call centers and having employees work from home.

  3. Hugo

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