Does telecommuting actually increase productivity?
Yahoo! CEO bans flexible work environments, although studies suggest flexible work environments benefit both corporations and individuals.
Studies show that telecommuting is on the rise and the tangible benefits of a flexible work environment.
Some 30 million people work from a home office at least once a week. In the next five years, that number is expected to increase by 63 percent, according to a study by the Telework Research Network.
“As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can,” writes David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried, founders of 37signals and authors of “REMOTE: Office Not Required” (Crown, March 2013). “As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can.”
Research out of Stanford University indicates that super-productive employees work their best from home, not in the office.
To study whether employees are more or less productive at home or in the office, the researchers created perhaps the first randomized study of remote work at Ctrip, a travel agency in Shanghai, China with 13,000 employees.
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In its coverage of the 9-month study, Wired found:
- Those who worked at home had a 12 percent increase in productivity over their peers.
- This group had a 50 percent drop in attrition and reported higher feelings of work satisfaction than those who reported to the office.
- Of that (12 percent) increase, 8.5 percent came from working more hours (due to shorter breaks and fewer sick days).
- 3.5 percent came from more performance per minute.
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“Work schedules are not always a one-size fits all type of approach so there are definitely benefits to workplace flexibility,” says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com. “Many positions necessitate a presence in the office, but you may actually get more out of your employees when they have more flexible schedules.”
Though they seem to be in the minority, some people believe Mayer is making the right call.
“For what it's worth, I support the no working from home rule. There's a ton of abuse of that at Yahoo. Something specific to the company,” a former Yahoo engineer told Business Insider.
Do you think those who work from home are more productive employees than those who put in time at the office?
Photo: Ken Wramton/Getty Images
I have worked in office and remotely for over 30 years. I have found there are those who tried telecommuting discovered it is not for them. And, there are those who discovered they thrive because either their concentration is greater, and therefore meet their deadlines, or their need for a challenge is a springboard to meet their goals. Why do professionals meet their deadlines?
There are those who find going into the office with the loud conversations over the cubicles too distracting. Then again, there are those who go into the office find the conversations from those they only see when they come into the office welcome.
You have to ask yourself - what is the goal? Is the requirement that people be present in the office mandatory because they will meet a goal? Why if they are meeting the goal already? Does it go back to the "old days" where a manager needs to see you at your desk? The ethics of the modern day professional where the need to excel the individuals career goals in order to advance through the company is parlayed and often shot down in the name of company downsizing - to better the company.
What level professionalism?
Like any job - the right person, the right job, the right fit. For whatever reason they telecommunte, the goal is the professional meets their deadlines. For Yahoo to mandate that workers must be present in the office .... what a shame. The company will lose so much more than just employees, they will lose customers with this backward thinking.
It's really easy to track what a telecommuter is doing. The work-at-home person signs into the company computer and enters phone calls made, emails sent and received, letters composed on the computer, reports written, so many tasks and so many ways to keep track. If a worker is AFK (away from keyboard) they can summarize work actually done while away, or just count it as a break in the workflow (for lunch, doctor appointment, kid pickup, or whatever.) Sure, turn up at the office once a week for face to face time. What about computer picture phone calls if you want to see faces and for the supposed inspiration that comes from meetings. (Don't call them annoying clowns that slow you down with gossip, and sell candy bars and cookies that their kids should be selling for the experience.)
inspire: live a better life
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