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A few weeks ago, Amy Clark got in touch with me regarding a post I’d written a while back about working remotely. She later sent me a link to this video outlining the benefits of telecommuting.
I think allowing employees to work remotely can have tremendous benefits for both individuals and the company they work for, and it’s certainly something all business owners should consider. With half of my family in China, it’s important to me that I be able to work remotely on occasion so I can see them without spending my expensive vacation time on an airplane crossing the pacific. Therefore, when I look for work, this is an important part of the package. However, I’ve been on the other side of the table before too; I always had confidence that my people would do at least the work they were supposed to while working from home/remotely, but I also knew how frustrating it could be functioning as a machine when one or two people from the team existed in our meetings as an unstable Skype connection propped up on a desk.
While I agree with nearly all of the points made in the video, I disagree with the commentary about and the community outrage that has risen over the decision Marissa Mayer, the new and kick-ass CEO of Yahoo!, made recently, outlawing remote workers.
I’ve constantly been surprised reading very highly opinionated pieces about this subject. I have opinions of my own on the matter, but what bothers me is that people fail to recognize just how opinionated the topic is. This decision isn’t about what’s right or wrong, or what’s best or worst; it’s about company culture. It’s about Mayer’s so-far-successful attempt to take a company that’s quickly failing and turn it around into the powerhouse it used to be. Has no one stopped to think that perhaps Yahoo!’s previous policy of letting people telecommute could have aided to the fact that its employees don’t really care that the company is failing? Or perhaps even that it’s a reason the company is failing?