What Do You Think About Telecommuting?

Recently, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, instituted a new plan to bring telecommuters back into the office. Following suit, Best Buy just announced that it, too, will rein in telecommuting.

In recent years, technology has given rise to more flexibility in the workplace. The ability to work from home — at least some of the time — has led to something of a revolution. More companies offer the telecommuting option, and the flexible hours option, as perks to workers who want to be able to plan their lives around what works for them.

However, this move for Yahoo seems to be paving the way for a bit of a throwback. Job seekers might find that companies aren’t as willing to accommodate them, especially if this move manages to re-energize Yahoo and help the company.

How Much Abuse Goes On With Telecommuting?

What Do You Think About Telecommuting?The big question that many are asking is whether or not there has been abuse with telecommuting. While there are some studies that indicate telecommuting can increase productivity, the fact remains that some workers are going to abuse the privilege.

For some, working from home is an ideal solution. I like working from home, and I have found that I am much more productive here at home than I ever was in an office. But there are some differences. For one, I am self-employed now, so it’s up to me to make sure that I get my “paycheck.” In the office, I was working for someone else, and sometimes just did the minimum required for my minimal pay.

How much abuse actually goes on with telecommuting is hard to measure since there isn’t someone there to see what is happening. Yahoo claims that there was some abuse happening with the policy, and some Yahoo employees seem to back up that view. Bringing more employees back into the office, under the eye of managers, seems like a solution in cases of abuse.

Does It Matter If You Get Your Work Done?

In my case, it doesn’t really matter when I do my work, as long as I get it done (by the deadline). With many companies, the situation is similar. As long as telecommuters are getting their work done on time, does it really matter if they spend half the day in their pajamas, surfing the web? Does it matter that they are working on side businesses at home?

Where you fall on this subject might depend on what you think about how workers are paid. Those who are paid a salary, and expected to just fulfill project requirements, might get away with a little more. But what about hourly telecommuters who charge for their time — although they might be doing something else with it?

It’s a sticky situation that can’t really be resolved without adding software to personal computers that some might think an invasion of privacy. But what you do on company time still matters, even if you aren’t on company property.

Personally, I think telecommuting can be a great thing. Providing a flexible schedule where workers can telecommute one to three days a week could allow workers to still come into the office for “team building” while still having the ability to work from home as needed.

What do you think? Is telecommuting a good idea?

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Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. She writes for a number of personal finance blogs, including Planting Money Seeds. She has a M.A. in journalism, and is the author of Confessions of a Professional Blogger. Miranda lives Utah, where she enjoys spending her free time reading, traveling and playing with her son and husband.


Comments

  1. says

    I think both the employee and the manager have to be suited for being able to handle telecommuting in order for it to be successful. The manager must make sure to clearly set expectations above, like do they expect the employee to work during certain hours, to be available via phone or e-mail, and have deliverables that are clearly defined and be able to measure them so that they can ensure that the employee is meeting their targets. Managers must also make sure not to fall into the out-of-sight out-of-mind trap where the employees that do show up in the office get more opportunity.

  2. Christian L. says

    Miranda,
    If you get your work done, what’s it matter where you do it? I agree that employees and employers should be on the same page. Telecommuting seems like a fair trade off in this digital era where it’s hard to disconnect (smartphones, airplane Internet, etc.).

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  3. 2Cents says

    I believe that continuing to pay a full time salary simply because the persons are not in the office to take on other responsibiliies is a waste of funding. Yes, people do abuse the privilege. Just getting a task done by the deadline doesn’t justify a full time salary. Would you tell your employer that you completed the task ahead of schedule and take on a new one or would you continue to lead them to believe that you are working and get paid for nothing until time to turn in the work to complete the project before getting assigned a new one?

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