No More Work From Home, Will Yahoo Start A Trend?

Kelley-Jensen2Author: Kelley Filice Jensen

“Me, Me, Me…” There has been a lot of me from people in cyberspace over a leaked internal memo from Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, disallowing Yahoo employees to work from home.  Bloggers, writers and consultants from every corner of the world have attacked social media with their own personal testimonials, time sheets, and productivity assessments.  As far as I can tell, none of them are Yahoo employees, so Yahoo’s decision should have nothing to do with them, and yet they are personally affronted.  But their myopic response to Yahoo’s unique corporate environment actually makes a point against working from home:  the inability to separate yourself, think collaboratively, and consider the greater need of the company or team you are supposed to be a part of.  Perhaps the visceral reaction was out of a fear that Yahoo would spark a trend and ruin a good thing for a lot of people that enjoy working from home.  If this does become a trend, what can people do to demonstrate their effectiveness from a remote location?  Michelle Montoya, MLR, SPHR, human resources consultant and specialist offers practical advice for employers, employees, and independent contractors on this debate.

First of all, I think there is this idea that people in the Silicon Valley all work from home, utilizing some fancy technology that actually takes information from their brain, assembles it and passes it on to their coworkers.  But that is not actually the case for many of the big technology firms in the valley, is it?

Absolutely not.  Many technology companies frown on working from home.  Incentives like free food in the cafeteria, day care, pre-school for the children of company employees, dry cleaning, gyms…all of these perks are given as incentive to come to one central location.

And why do you think that is, what do these big tech companies value about being in the office?

Collaboration, creative thinking and sharing of information, teamwork, and training.  Training is very hard to do remotely.

So it is not just an issue of whether or not you are getting your work done?

Often times it is not just about getting your work done, because that is relatively straight forward, depending on the job.  It is more about the process of new ideas, something sacred to the Silicon Valley.

Many people do work from home though, depending on their particular job or company, so the idea that eliminating work from home will become a trend is baseless, would you say?

Definitely.  There is no reason to think that Yahoo is going to start an employer trend.  If it is effective and profitable to have some employees working from home, companies will continue to do it.  It is policy that is very specific to a company, industry, employer, and, to a certain degree, the type of employees on staff.

What do you advise for people who do work from home, enjoy the flexibility, and want to make sure their employers are satisfied with their job performance?

Effective communication about what you are working on is key.  Regular updates, conference calls and emails let managers know that you are on top of your assignments.  It is also advantageous to go into the office to check in – it might be appropriate weekly or maybe just monthly – a regular meeting ensures that a team of coworkers is collaborating and staying focused.

It is also a good idea to keep regular office hours and office protocol, as much as possible.  Your boss does not want to hear the dog barking in the background, wait for you to catch your breath because you just came in from a jog, the TV should not be on. Do not email work that is due at midnight.

What if you and your employer agree that your work is better done under the title “independent contractor” or “consultant” as a way to allow work from home to continue for you.  How can you be reclassified from an employee? 

That can be very tricky for an employer because if you are doing the exact same work but have been reclassified as a consultant or independent contractor, governing agencies interpret that as trying to avoid employee taxes, leaving employers with heavy fines.

For such an arrangement to work, you must be fired, and contracted under a new agreement detailing your work on a project basis, as well as stating legal considerations such as workers’ compensation and liability insurance.

Is there a specific type of industry or job that lends itself to working from home more than others?

People doing jobs that require little collaboration, just deadline, tend to do best:  writers, sales people that travel, translation work, some technology maintenance jobs, and certain creative jobs.  Working from home is also best for those that have years of experience.  It is very difficult to train people remotely.

Thinking about leaving your job to work independently?  You will need health insurance

Health Care Reform  has made the possibility of working from home and getting a health insurance plan that you own much easier.  Learn more, including whether you may qualify for subsidy through a health care exchange in your state, such as Covered California .

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One Response to “No More Work From Home, Will Yahoo Start A Trend?”

  1. find more information

    No More Work From Home, Will Yahoo Start A Trend? – eindividualhealth.com – Health Insurance Information for Individuals, Families | eindividualhealth.com – Health Insurance Information for Individuals, Families

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