Since the now infamous memo from Jackie Reses at Yahoo! was released to the media, HR circles across the country are abuzz with renewed talk on workplace flexibility options. The memo stated that all employees who currently work remotely need to find a way to work in a Yahoo! office by June.
Speculation on whether this was a good decision or not started almost immediately after this story broke and clearly there are people on both sides of the issue. Some advocates for flexible work arrangements and telecommuting claim that this decision actually could cause talented employees to become disgruntled and leave the organization. The case can also be made that employees can be highly productive when they can work from home without interruption.
The flip side of the argument, which includes the opinions of some former Yahoo! employees, is that remote workers were slacking off and not getting the full opportunities of interacting with their co-workers. For many organizations, collaboration is a key to success. With remote workers, communication and collaboration have to become more deliberate acts, rather than just hallway conversations in passing.
With today’s technological advancements, there are certainly more means to allow for remote workers, but it’s not always the best solution for every company. Employers and employees need to consider what workplace flexibility options are available and if they can be achieved successfully. Workplace flexibility is only successful when it works for both the employee and the employer, not only one party, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Options For More Workplace Flexibility
There are various flexible work arrangements, but some of the more popular models are:
Employees who telecommute work in a remote location away from their company’s facilities. Typically telecommuters will work from a home office or a shared co-working space.
2. Compressed Work Week
A compressed work week allows employees to work the same amount of hours as their colleagues, but their schedule may be longer work days with a ½ day or full day off at some point during the regular work week.
3. Reduced Schedules
In many organizations, 30 or more hours is considered full-time. For some jobs, the traditional 40+ hours per week isn’t necessary to get the work done and your employer might be open to reducing your work week slightly.
4. Flexible Schedules
Some business models allow for employees to start and end their work days at different times. Some companies are encouraging their employees to work when it best suits them, rather than dictating a 9-5 schedule.
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made the tough decision to bring remote workers back into a traditional office setting. We don’t fully know her reasons and we don’t know that her decision will be successful. When she was hired, she made it very clear that she has a mission of breathing new life and profitability into the once Internet giant. Perhaps this is her way of getting control over her organization. Only time will tell whether she made the right call or not.
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