Orange County Employment Attorney:
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, has now disallowed employees to work from their home. This has led other companies, including those in Orange County, to question whether telecommuting works or not. Critics on one side say that there is no accountability; working at home inhibits creativity and damages company culture. On the other hand, the flexibility for working mothers and employees with a serious medical condition is a valued benefit.
A study at Stanford University illustrates success in telecommuting increasing productivity and lowering cost for employers but may lead to more hours of work for employees. Many companies are split on the topic.
Joel Tanner, co-founder of GigaSavvy, an Irvine based web-design firm that has done work with Knott’s Berry Farm, supports work in the office, as it encourages and enhances creativity and teamwork for his company.
He says, “We’re a team, and I think people being remote isn’t good for a team. Can you imagine having a rowing team and practicing remotely and then coming together for the race? It defeats the whole idea of teamwork.”
As someone who did telecommuting work himself, a decade ago, he finds that a balance between work and life is important for productivity.
A leaked memo by Yahoo head of human resources, Jacqueline Reses, announces that Yahoo will end all agreements with telecommuting employees starting in June. Reses says “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” and continues, “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
Proponents of telecommuting say that employees save on gas, are able to regulate their own work, and balance work and family. The message Yahoo is sending to their employees is, basically, “we don’t trust you.”
Jennifer Owens, editorial director for Working Mother magazine believes parents need to work from home sometimes and, “It’s really a step back for their company.”
Kim Sheperd, chief executive of Decision Toolbox, a recruiting firm based in Irvine, said her entire staff works outside the office and it’s been the best experience for her.
Shepherd states: “I don’t get it. Talk about turning back the clock and taking away your competitive advantage in attracting top talent…If you hire the right employees to begin with, people will micromanage themselves more than any manager ever could.”
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