Where’s the outrage?
One week after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting at the company
—sparking a national debate about flexible work schedules—Best Buy has curtailed its celebrated work-from-home policy, requiring employees to get their supervisor’s approval before working from home. In the past, employees had free rein to set their schedules. The new policy went into effect on Monday.
Best Buy’s flexible-schedule program, called Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), said non-store employees could work wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and would be judged on their results. The program earned praise when it was enacted in 2005.
“But, like Yahoo, Best Buy has since fallen on hard times, and the company recently brought in a new CEO. The big-box retailer has struggled to compete in a market increasingly dominated by online stores like Amazon, and ROWE didn't fit into the company's turnaround plans.”
The new CEO is Hubert Joly. Last month, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
quoted Joly calling ROWE “fundamentally flawed from a leadership standpoint.” Curiously, the Star-Tribune
reported on Feb. 16 that Joly wasn’t killing ROWE, but instead asking employees “what they think works best.” It didn’t grab national headlines until this week.
Thus far, the public and media’s reaction to Best Buy is less vitriolic than it was to Yahoo’s announcement last week. More than a few people have suggested the uneven reaction is because Joly is a man and Mayer a woman.
But new reporting from The New York Times
casts Mayer’s decision in a new light.
A Times story
today that delves into Yahoo’s work-from-home ban says Mayer’s decree wasn’t a referendum on telecommuting, but a way to rein in about 200 employees who were collecting paychecks from the company but doing little work.
In fact, it appears the ban is less stringent than people first suspected. According to the Times
, one Yahoo manager told employees, “Be here when you can. Use your best judgment. But if you have to stay home for the cable guy or because your kid is sick, do it.”
A recent survey of PR and marketing professionals found that 22 percent work from home
at least one day a week.