The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 5, 2013
Rise & Opine: Why is telecommuting even an issue?

Rise & Opine offers opinions on opinions, on days the writer is properly caffeinated.

hXZfN.Xl.4.jpeg.jpgShould employers let their employees telecommute? Certainly. It shouldn't even be an issue. But it becomes one when employers are lax about the conditions set on employees who work from home, either on a regular basis or temporarily.

All that is being lost in the furor over Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer and her edict on telecommuting.

I have a bit of current bias. One of my family members recently broke her ankle, so I am spending more time at home, acting as home health care attendant and arranging teleconferences to substitute for normal meetings with my staff each morning. I've found I am actually more productive in this set-up, since I have more time to write and answer emails without interruption . And since I am at work most -- but not all -- of the day, my editorial page staff has plenty of opportunity to interact with me, not that they always need (or want) that.

At Yahoo!, it appears that Mayer inherited a telecommuting culture that hadn't been properly managed. Anyone who telecommutes needs and should want to have regular face-to-face contact with colleagues, bosses and employees. Mayer needed to set new expectations, but she may have mishandled that, possibly by delegating the job of explaining the new policy.

Yet Yahoo is hardly the only company -- or public agency -- that is trying to get a hand on telecommuting. The California Administrative Office of the Courts is trying to clamp down after disclosures that an employee was telecommuting from Switzerland.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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