Benefits & Compensation News

Will Yahoo’s move set firms’ telecommuting plans back?

It seems like even the most conservative, traditional companies have been embracing telecommuting in recent years. So when news spread about one of the world’s most forward-thinking corporations taking a huge step backward with this benefit, it raised a lot of eyebrows and begged the question: Will others follow suit?

Here’s what happened: Recently, an internal memo for Yahoo was leaked, and that memo outlined major changes to the company’s policies and effectively ended any telecommuting opportunities for its employees starting in June.

The memo was written by Yahoo HR exec Jackie Rese, presumably on behalf of the company’s CEO Marissa Mayer.

Here’s a sample: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our office … Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together.”

The full memo was leaked to the website All Things D.

‘Back to the last century’

The memo went viral and caused quite a stir, with some businesses and interest groups outwardly criticizing Yahoo’s new policy.

One such group was Working Mother, which posted the following statement in response to Yahoo’s latest move: “We all knew she [Yahoo’s Mayer] had a troubled company to turn around — maybe her plan was to lead by example with a flexible work schedule? … Alas, no. Instead her plan as announced last week is to lead her workforce back to the last century by banning work-from-home policies across the company.”

While it’s easy to criticize Yahoo’s no-telecommuting stance now, only time will tell if the move will improve things for the struggling Internet company. Should the Internet giant start to turn things around, we’re betting a number of companies — both large and small — will follow its lead.

A benefit they’re willing to sacrifice for

Regardless of Yahoo’s thoughts on the subject, there’s been plenty of research on just how beneficial telecommuting can be to both employers and employees.

Plus, a strong work/life balance is a benefit the majority of today’s employees are looking for from their employers. And many are willing to give up a lot in order to get it.

In fact, nearly 20% of employees said they’d be willing to have their take-home pay cut from between 5% to 10% – if it meant they had great “workplace support for caregiving,” in the form of flexible scheduling, telecommuting, etc., according to a study by Workplace Options, Inc.


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