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Stop. Collaborate and Listen. Marissa Mayer’s here with a not so new invention.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen. Marissa Mayer’s here with a not so new invention.

150 150 Britt Cooper

It’s called, working from the office. Much ink has been spilled over the decision made by Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, to ban her employees working from home. While the trend towards flexible working was definitely on the up, the number of people working regularly from home rose more than sixty per cent between 2005 and 2009, Mayer very publicly challenged the widely accepted view that telecommuting is good for business.

Shortly after Yahoo’s change in company policy went public, Best Buy also announced they were reining in telecommuting, stating “It used to be a right about which a manager had no say. Now it’s a conversation.” Both companies have recently fallen on hard times and are looking to turn their luck around. But is a ban on flexible working the answer?

According to our data, employees consume more mobile data outside of work hours, with peaks in data usage coinciding with commuter times. However, not all of it spent on work. Take a look at our chart below.

avg_comp_data

WiFi is in the process of being rolled out on public transport in larger cities to help offload the overworked mobile broadband networks, but for now the reach is small and requires end-user intervention to log into the WiFi service. In the meantime, the telecommuting debate rages on and only time will tell whether going against the flow pays off for Yahoo and Best Buy.

Mayer admits “people are more productive when they’re alone,” but argued “they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.” The truth is, companies need both productivity and creativity to be successful.

So how does modern business strike a balance?  Take a long hard look at your employee base. Your dev and ops teams probably work unconventional hours, sometimes through the night. At the same time, they need to collaborate. Carefully evaluate what type of working policies would get the best from them.

Each business is unique and a telecommuting policy needs to be considerate of employee culture as well as business goals. As Mayer said, her decision “isn’t a broad industry view on working from home — this is about what is right for Yahoo, right now.”