But Poses a Serious Question
By Amanda Benjamin
When Yahoo appointed Marissa Mayer as its new CEO last year, many thought she would prove an advocate of working parents (Mayer was a mom-to-be at the time). But, with Mayer’s recent ultimatum that telecommuters either need to come into work or quit, some of her previous supporters are upset with her comments.
Allegedly, some of the company’s telecommuters often took the allowance too far by milking the clock and often going MIA.
A former Yahoo editor spilled the beans to Huffington Post that when telecommuting, managers would disappear rendering them useless and unable to help when needed. Immediate action often requires in-office attendance. This editor isn’t the only former employee supporting the mandate. The abuse and employee negligence was an issue for many of the in-office workers. Complaints included slacking, unavailability, speed, quality and spending time on non-Yahoo projects.
The question therein lies … should a business allow its employees the freedom to work from home? While it depends on the industry, there are legitimate pros and cons to both.
When working for corporations in which you report to a manager and work closely with team members, it might be more difficult to transition to a home-based situation. However, if you work more independently and have multiple opportunities, home is a great place to be. With no commute, you can save time and reduce your carbon footprint. And with less office stress, a home-based employee might be more motivated and get more done.Some of the best roles of telecommuting include writing, editing, web design, online teaching and outbound calling.
It’s hard to collaborate when physically separate. It’s not impossible, but the disconnection is often felt. Are telecommuting coworkers taking personal errands, napping, surfing the Internet and taking extended lunches? These are legitimate concerns. Some people need supervision.
Mayer’s ultimatum seems to be a call for colleagues to gather closely together to create new services for Yahoo in a vibrant community atmosphere; to bring them in and get on the same mindset with common objectives. Some corporations rely on executive retreats, departmental gatherings and team off-site meetings for motivation and idea generating to cultivate a sense of community and identify common goals.
Are You Motivated, Self-Disciplined and Organized Enough?
A person pretty much has to be a jack-of-all-trades to either have a home-based business or even telecommute, suggests Entrepreneur.com. An office environment allows the freedom from invoicing, and tech problems. Remotely, though, it’s up to you to have a solid grasp on home-based business applications like QuickBooks, Microsoft Office and ordering supplies like printer ink and business cards, so you don’t have to go anywhere for those things.
Set reachable goals with tangible rewards. Have communication systems set up and ready to roll at a second’s notice: email, instant messaging, phone, and visual business communication like WebEx or Skype for face-to-face contact.
Don’t get distracted by television, the dog or the refrigerator. Set up an office in a spare room and focus on your work.
Organization: Set a Schedule
- Up at 8 a.m.
- Check email and social media until 9 a.m.
- Work until 12 p.m.
- Break for lunch
- Work a few more hours with a couple breaks—time yourself
- Quit at 6 p.m. (who works an 8-hour day anymore?)
Amanda Benjamin can often be found at tech conferences, promoting CRM platforms that connect agents with customers in real time.