It seemed like such a good idea ...
Success is more and more difficult to come by for many companies. And mapping out new strategies to accomplish their goals has some businesses reassessing their more innovative procedures. One such initiatives now being rescinded at both Yahoo! and Best Buy involves allowing employees to work from home or telecommute. While the practice isn’t completely gone, employees might need to get prior approval to do so.
Why make the change? Both companies’ leaders decided that when situations necessitated all hands on deck everyone needed to be on the premises so all the brightest minds would be together and able to work in collaboration to foster the best solutions.
Is it any surprise that multiple minds work better than one? While brainstorming can occur via texting, email or social media, it certainly isn’t the same nor is it as fast or as effective, as working side-by-side with someone or a group. Technology might be great for keeping people in touch and communicating some concepts, but it doesn’t work well for the give-and-take dialogue that can be more valuable than the all-thumbs communication occurring with technology.
Some say bad management was the problem, rather than telecommuting, because such off-site work is a privilege requiring discipline and oversight. The matter of fairness comes up too, because to those employees without the work-from-home privileges, it just looks like paid playtime for certain employees.
Working from home presents its own number of distractions, but most good managers know you can’t expect what you don’t inspect. It is difficult to inspect what activities are happening by telecommuters unless the position has a lot metrics and results that show an employee’s productivity and consequently their accountability.
Supervisors ultimately need to balance the interests of the company and employees because telecommuting can provide an important quality of life benefit for attracting and retaining employees.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher