THE BLOG

Smart Thinking or a Bunch of Yahoo?

02/26/2013 01:36 pm ET | Updated Apr 28, 2013

With the announcement of Yahoo's new ban on telework, the Internet has been abuzz with people chiming in on the pros and cons of this new policy. Last week, the search engine sent an internal memo to all staff informing them everyone must start working from a Yahoo office come June.

Among the ban, the memo states that communication and collaboration are important. Well, I agree. So if telework is a no-no, is an iPhone contraband? Nowadays employees are given mobile devices to work from anywhere. In fact, collaboration, video, and remote access enables employees to be connected, productive, and happy -- who says collaboration can only happen in the office?

Going against the new workforce grain, employees and companies have lashed out.

Mixed Messages?
What's confusing, you say? For one, a company that encourages mobile device usage, but doesn't encourage employees to use said devices to work from anywhere. The whole point of mobile devices is, well, mobility. A recent Mobile Work Exchange study found that federal employees can gain up to 9 hours of productivity a week as a result of mobile devices -- that could equate to $28 billion in savings in a year.

Trim the Fat?
Okay, I'm confused... again. Is Yahoo's ban a way to "trim the fat"? Wouldn't it be better to remove poor performers? Are we letting the bad apples spoil the bunch? Oh geez, they can't all be bad apples right? If employees aren't performing, that's not a telework problem. That's a management problem. By the way, those poor performers will figure out a way to not perform in your brick-and-mortar, too.

Good Sense

It's no coincidence that 85 percent of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" have a telework program. In a competitive market, organizations must ensure the best and brightest stay happy and productive and just that...stay.

All or Nothing
Let's face it, telework isn't an all or nothing proposition. There is an eligibility factor -- some positions are not eligible for full-time or even part-time arrangements. But that shouldn't mean you have to call it quits altogether. It's finding the right mix is what's important. Judge employees on their performance, not the performance of others. Time and attendance isn't the right management strategy. It's a morale changer and a trust issue at hand. Let's not confuse the issue.

Next week, Mobile Work Exchange, along with Cisco and Citrix, celebrates Telework Week -- an effort to encourage any and all to telework. That's right, we're taking a stand on banning commutes. More than 100,000 have already pledged, and will save roughly $7.5 million in commuting costs (in one week).

For the 2012 Telework Week, 70 percent of surveyed participants said that, when they consider future positions, they will give preference to positions that offer telework. Now that's smart thinking.

Cindy Auten is general manager of Mobile Work Exchange and a full-time teleworking mom who enjoys the balance.