It’s been a while now since Yahoo banned telecommuting, but the debate doesn’t seem to be loosing any steam on major media and social networks.

Due to our belief that telecommuting is the way of the future, we’ve been paying close attention.

More details have now emerged about why Marissa Mayer instituted the ban, but it’s done little to stop the negative publicity.

USA Today reported that Yahoo’s Virtual Private Network logs showed that remote workers were not logging in regularly, leading to Mayer’s decision.

The New York Times suggested that the move was intended to increase employee morale and noted Yahoo’s employee issues were not just due to telecommuting.  Many of the employees in the office were trying to do as little as possible and leave early.

Outspoken, forward-thinker Richard Branson founder of Virgin Group also stepped into the debate calling mandatory office hours for all workers a sign of “old school thinking.” The Globe and Mail reports that Branson took his thoughts to the Virgin blog, further stating:

“The key for me is that in today’s world I do not think it is effective or productive to force your employees one way or another. Choice empowers people and makes for a more content work force…”

“In 30 years time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed.”

Meanwhile, there is a smaller, yet vocal group in the anti-telecommuting court.  A few days following Yahoo’s ban, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called telecommuting “one of the dumber ideas I’ve ever heard.”  Best Buy also followed suit with a similar decision to ban telecommuting for its workers.

Forbes opinion that distance wasn’t the issue for Yahoo or Best Buy – management was tends to resonate most with our view on the matter…

When telecommuting is a possibility for employees, it’s up to management to have the right systems and accountability checks in place to ensure the work is getting done.  No matter where employees are working from, management must ensure deadlines are being met and results are being achieved.

With the right team management and online collaboration tools in place, telecommuting can most certainly increase productivity and results.  Without the right systems, there is a good chance employees will abuse the right to telecommute.

If employees are properly trained, motivated, managed and monitored, telecommuting can open up a world of benefits, but first it is essential that employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them.  When and where they work is irrelevant if they’re achieving outstanding results.

It’s human nature to want to perform to the best of our abilities.  If employees aren’t achieving results or meeting goals and seem to have ‘lost that loving feeling’, there are probably deeper issues at hand that need to be addressed.

Regular performance and results reviews, combined with online collaboration tools, are ways managers can help telecommuters remain accountable.

At the end of the day, it’s all about results.

We don’t see this debate ending any time soon.  As a company that only exists virtually and has been successfully ‘living in the cloud’ for 8 years, we are loving that major media and corporations are supporting what we’ve known for quite some time.

Let us know what you think in the comments section!

Tamara Smith

© DemGen Inc 2013