Yahoo recently alerted its remote employees that they have until June to find space in a company cubicle; working from home will now be reserved for the day you have to wait for the cable guy. Why? Because “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”
Really? That’s not what Dell and Intel found when they commissioned a study on global workforce trends from TNS Global. The goal was to define the role that technology has played in the evolution of those trends, and technology is of course key to teleworking.
What the study found had as many implications for recruitment as it did for productivity itself. If Yahoo wants to prevent brain drain as a result of its policy change, it should take heed of these findings:
- Six in ten employees want to be measured by the quality of the work they deliver rather than time spent at the office
- An outputs-based model may correlate to employee morale: 82 percent of “extremely happy” employees are being measured by work quality versus only 51 percent who are “unhappy” with their job
Let’s consider Yahoo’s position that these employees might be happy because they’re spending too much of their workday, uh, not working. It’s possible, but that’s not what the employees are saying.
- Fewer than two-thirds of global employees feel they can get their work done in a traditional 9-5 schedule
- At the same time, the number of people who would prefer a flexible work schedule (61 percent) exceeds the number who would like regular 9-5 hours, which could support the argument that people who favor flex schedules want the flexibility to work more.
According to the study, the number of people who feel that the ability to work remotely will increase productivity is rising, not falling.
In discussions of work-life balance, maybe the balance companies should seek isn’t between working at the office versus working from home, but between solo uninterrupted time to concentrate versus in-person team brainstorming time. If that’s the true debate, should it come at the cost of workplace flexibility?