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According to nearly everyone, it's not. CEO Marissa Mayer created a hullabaloo in February, just a few months into her job there, when her decision to put an outright ban on the practice leaked in a memo. A passionate public debate has been going on ever since, essentially asking, "Telecommuting: But those who specialize in workplace strategy say the question is fundamentally flawed. Giving employees the flexibility to choose where they work is an endeavor far too nuanced for a simplistic approach.
Bernice Boucher, head of workplace strategy in the Americas for real-estate yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan firm Jones Lang LaSalle, says companies that curtail flex work often have lost their competitive edge.
So the question is not so much one about telecommuting in general as about the culture at a particular company. In the financial services realm, some of the largest institutions are known for touting telecommuting as part of their work-life benefits, and for the most part yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan are continuing to do so.
Bank say they have not introduced any changes to their telecommuting policies that would curtail the practice. JPMorgan Chase did not respond to inquiries. Bank of America is tweaking its approach. It yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan the specific jobs eligible for telecommuting after reviewing its "My Work" program last year. The net result is that fewer BofA employees are expected to be telecommuting, according to some reports.
But a spokeswoman says yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan in the program is relatively unchanged so far. At the time it had a goal of doubling the nearly 20, employees who were enrolled globally, which would have boosted participation to 14 percent of its staff. The spokeswoman yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan not provide updated details on the number of participants, nor would she specify how or why the telecommuting policy changed.
Those who study workplace strategy say many companies look for a quick fix when they are under earnings pressure. They want to show shareholders they are making changes, and telecommuting is vulnerable in those situations because a policy change is tangible, regardless of the results it might yield.
But more careful consideration is key to a successful workplace strategy, Boucher says. How to keep yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan engaged and how to effectively use real estate are all part of the equation, and these factors change over time, meaning that the strategy needs to keep evolving. The telecommuting debate, as it is playing out, is largely divided between two opinionated camps: Each side points to academic research they say proves their claims.
Yet none of these studies suggest it would be a good idea to wholly exclude either practice within a company. And that can be done via both face time and telecommuting. The claim that office interaction promotes innovation stems from something known as the "Allen Curve," named for Thomas J.
Allen, an emeritus professor of management and engineering at MIT. In the s, Allen essentially found that the probability for frequent communications among engineers is greatest when they're located within about feet of one another. What his seminal research most definitely does not say is that proximity yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan innovation, though many in the anti-telecommuting camp inaccurately claim it does.
It only says that proximity of staff increases the probability for chance encounters among co-workers, which in turn can foster speedier decision-making. But whether that decision-making is innovative, or even competent, has less to do with the proximity of the chatterers than it yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan with the fundamental quality of the ideas being discussed, and how they're later executed, if they are at all. What managers can do is foster the best conditions for talented people to come up with good ideas.
And idea generation is best enabled wherever there are fewer distractions from the task at hand. Such solace can be found at home, in the office, or elsewhere, depending on many variables, on any given day. Yet, no doubt, face-time has its upsides. Colleagues chatting as they get a cup of coffee in the break room can yield a valuable idea, alleviate the need for an otherwise unwieldy chain of emails or buoy morale.
Collaboration and camaraderie are hard to come by alone. When you have someone that's really a good player, they play off one another and react. Yet for many companies, the reality of having far-flung regional campuses as well as an employee base that is demanding better work-life balance, means that some portion of the spit-balling and refining of ideas, along with some of the work that goes into building team spirit, needs to be replicated digitally.
Rodney Nelsestuen, senior research director at CEB TowerGroup, says some yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan this already is occurring, as companies take advantage of chat functions, email, videoconferencing and tools like Skype and Yammer, all of which he says can actually increase socialization.
But I'm also a remote employee and I'm very comfortable doing that. All of us like human interaction. But if you can get people highly engaged in an interactive sense, through technology, to some extent it doesn't matter where they're located.
All the experts interviewed for this story agree that telecommuting can boost productivity and cut real-estate costs, and even spark innovation, in nearly any setting, if managed properly.
But it's worth noting that successful oversight includes "knowing when to bring people together face to face," says Michael Boyer O'Leary, assistant professor of management at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.
The experts also concur that telecommuting tends to get cut at companies when yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan struggle. Subscribe Now Access to authoritative analysis and perspective yahoo bot maker 2012 nissan our data-driven report series.
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