There’s been a lot of discussion recently over new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting, both from telecommuters who feel outraged and/or defensive of their own work ethics and from defenders of the traditional workplace who find her ultimatum gratifying. Frankly, even as a telecommuter, I can understand both sides (I think The Atlantic‘s Anne-Marie Slaughter nails it pretty well). Any workplace policy can be abused by someone—from the shipping clerk to the CEO—and if Yahoo!’s company culture has devolved into one that rewards non-productivity, Mayer’s gotta try something. And though I’m inclined to see unproductive telecommuters as, first and foremost, a management problem (and perhaps secondly as a technology problem), as an outsider, I can’t possibly know enough about her company or its workforce to guess whether this policy shift might be effective.
Of course, reading the comment section of Slaughter’s post is unsurprisingly pretty frustrating. There’s a strong inclination on the part of onlookers to paint either all CEOs or all telecommuters with the same (negative) brush. I did find one comment pretty interesting, though, from a user named David Graf. “Telecommuters are usually one of two types: Those who have a hard time starting and those who have a hard time stopping.” Like most either/or statements, I suspect this is ultimately untrue (or at least grossly oversimplified), but (again, like most either/or statements) I admit I can recognize myself a bit in one of Graf’s “types.” I really don’t like stopping. [Read more…]