In telework we trust

sam-deskEvery Dragonfly Editorial writer and editor works from home.
Our company culture and work model is built on trust. Our editors and writers build that trust by showing, time and again, that we do quality work.
Just as importantly, we get the work done when it needs to be done. Rather than scheduling editors to shifts, we schedule them to projects, most of which have tight turnaround times. We love when the anticipated schedule turns out to be the actual schedule. But, in the world of editing corporate proposals bidding on government contracts, things don’t always work out that way. More often than not, they don’t.
Some of our clients have onsite staff editors who work during regular business hours. We keep files moving onto the next stage after the onsite staff go home for the weekend. Working from home makes it much more manageable for us to bridge that gap—or even to help a proposal team catch up when it falls behind on its projected schedule. It’s not a hardship for our editors to work until 10 p.m. or through the weekend or during the Super Bowl, if that’s what the schedule calls for.
Even though our clients contract our editorial services rather than hiring us as employees, we’re part of the growing trend toward telework. It seems like a no-brainer. So why would Yahoo decide that all its remote workers—hundreds of them—would have to report to the office starting June 1?
Why would Yahoo ban telework?
I’m certainly not the only one surprised and dismayed by the news that chief executive of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, abolished the company’s work-at-home policy.
We’re all wondering the same thing: Why? Why would the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company—a new mother—make such a low-tech, old-fashioned move at one of the nation’s largest technology companies?
A Yahoo company memo about this change says that face-to-face interaction between employees fosters a more collaborative culture.
Some suspect that the telework ban is a way to get people to quit rather than having a round of layoffs.
Or maybe Mayer wants to make a tough, bold gamble that a telework ban will do less harm than good.
The telework ban isn’t really bigger than Mayer’s other moves—including a website refresh, renovating Yahoo Mail, and releasing a new Flickr app. It’s just more newsworthy. Business experts are surprised by how out of sync this decision is with national trends.

What makes a worker productive?
Talented, hard-working people want to be trusted and valued for what they do, not for how long they sit at their desk.
“This means adapting metrics to focus on results, and linking flexible schedules to talent management and job demands,” wrote Ellen Ernst Kossek, president of the Work-Family Researchers Network, in an article for the Wall Street Journal. “Management has to take time to coach employees, to be clear on goals, and have the courage to get rid of the bottom 10% of workers and abusers of a flexible system.”
None of that sounds easy. Maybe Yahoo’s CEO thought that banning telework would be simpler.
I love my job largely because of the flexibility it gives me as a single mom to give both my career and my daughter the best I have to give. A larger company could offer a better “benefits package.” But there’s no benefit that a corporation could give me that would be more valuable to me than flexibility regarding where and when I work.
Not surprisingly, a recent WorldatWork study found that turnover rates were lower where the culture of flexibility was stronger.
If I worked for Yahoo, I’d be looking for another job right now.
Just saying…
Amy Paradysz manages Dragonfly Editorial’s corporate editing team.
Kossek, Ellen Ernst. “Yahoo Ban on Working From Home is Misguided,” Wall Street Journal, Feb. 27, 2013.
Gonchar, Michael. “Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?” New York Times, March 1, 2013.
Goudreau, Jenna. “Back To the Stone Age? New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Bans Working From Home,”, Feb. 25, 2013.
WorldatWork. “New Study: Majority of U.S. Employers Offer Workplace Flexibility.” Feb. 15, 2011.


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