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Teleworking

No More Homework The decision by CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer to ban teleworking has caused controversy.

T

he decision by head of the internet firm Marissa Mayer to ban staff from working from home reputedly because she was tired of arriving at work each morning to find the car park of the Yahoo offices in California virtually empty has ignited a whirlwind of controversy. A memo subsequently leaked to the US media outlined the reasoning for the decision of the CEO, famous for returning to work last year just two weeks after giving birth to her first child. “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo and that starts with physically being together,” the memo read. The news prompted a fierce cyber backlash and numerous blogs, posts and 116 | Silicon Valley Global

tweets were dispatched denouncing the Yahoo chief and accusing her of an attack on women trying to raise children while continuing to advance their career. The Chief Executive of Virgin Richard Branson weighed into the debate and said people should be given the freedom of choosing where they want to work and described the move to ban teleworking at Yahoo as a “backward step in an age where remote working is easier and more efficient that ever”. Others were more supportive of her stance and the head of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman said that her immediate reaction to anyone requesting to work from home was ‘no’. However, there is little doubt that there has been a growing trend towards teleworking. According to a recent survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management, some 94% of organisations offer teleworking and 50% of

people will work from home on occasions. BT has had a comprehensive teleworking policy in place since the 1980s and today has some 65,000 flexible workers, 10,000 of whom are never required to venture into the office. This group, according to BT, are on average 20% more productive than staff who are based in the office. A study carried out by Stanford University recently reveals a similar pattern of higher productivity among those who work from home. The study of workers at a Chinese travel agency found that fewer breaks and less sick days were taken by staff working from home and they answered more calls and reported a higher level of job satisfaction. When the

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