Schafer: Flex-work initiatives drive sharp divisions

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 5, 2013 - 9:11 PM

Lucky for Best Buy Co. that the decision to curtail its flexible work initiative followed a leak of Yahoo’s e-mail banning telecommuting.

  • 20
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
regionguyMar. 5, 1310:19 PM

I don't work for Best Buy in any way, nor have I in the past. But I have extensive experience with coworkers who work remotely, and I have done it myself. I have also seen some of the research given in support of things like ROWE. I think the research is ok as far as it goes, but I think it glosses over some important things like noverbal communication, spontaneous brainstoming and problem-solving, and team-formation. Unfortunately it has also led to some zealotry, to the point where some people seem to think they have a right to work from home however they see fit. I much prefer a middle ground, especially since some people are better suited to one environment or another; ditto for some types of businesses and job-roles.

20
1
waterdogzMar. 5, 1310:57 PM

Totally agree with Dornquast. I have seen large bureaucracies that get by just fine with telecommuting and fulltime remote work, but the collaboration and creativity was pathetic. Results were ok, but the goals needed to be higher. Here is what I say to the ROWE folks: you say manage for results, not time in the office. Well I say the results in many organizations will be better when people collaborate face-to-face a high % of the time. But how many work groups would end up doing that if management let them decide? How can individual motivations and decisions in ROWE ever align completely with striving for the best possible results? "No results, no job" is a cute saying, but by the time that happens, there has already been failure. It is noble to let people choose their own structure and teamwork arrangements, but to me it's utopian.

18
6
FrankLMar. 5, 1311:02 PM

I can understand if your job is confined to electronic piecework, the computer equivalent of a sewing factory, then telecommuting can work. However, if you are working on a collaborative project, electronic communication can be very limiting. Most people will not give a frank and honest assessment of an idea on-line, because we can not control where those words will end up. As Facebook users have discovered, any indiscretion lives on forever in the electronic world.

15
5
kwirkyMar. 6, 13 6:00 AM

Sometimes I wish my co-workers worked from home. But there is no replacement for that sheepish grin when someone says "hey, how hard can it be?" And everyone in the process buys in with their own visual and verbal acceptance. The plain reality is that there are times to work from home. Most seem to do that work in addition to the in-the-office time.

15
2
texas_technomanMar. 6, 13 6:21 AM

This is not an either / or situation. A successful remote worker depends on two things, the nature of the work, and the nature of the person. Many IT support positions, for instance, can be performed from a remote location, as can some computer programming jobs. I had 35 years in the corporate world, and deciding who and when remote working would work was taken on a case by case basis. Just takes a little common sense...which generally is lacking in large organizations.

21
1
u34ci10Mar. 6, 13 7:27 AM

The division to me is clear... Difference makers show up to the office everyday particularly when there is a crisis to deal with. BBB employees have a choice... Your business is failing. Sitting at home writing emails and wasting time on elaborate powerpoint presentations and spreadsheets won't save you. Show up or get out of the way.

11
14
stuckinthemMar. 6, 13 8:14 AM

My first thought is both companies are bringing people back into the office to document people in order to do downsizing. My company due to floor space concerns is working to put people at home. We're working with software to be more colaborative remotely, but the software isn't there yet or it's not reliable. The bigger problem seems to be getting people to use the functionality available. Jobs and people vary so much, it really is a case by case basis.

17
1
wallinmMar. 6, 13 8:47 AM

The problem with this change by BB is the timing. On the heels of laying off 400 people it smells of the need to make the remaining staff pick up the workload of the 400. By requiring them to be in the office you can ensure that they are putting in more than 40 hours per week. Maybe that is best for the company but it may not be for the employee. I suppose we should all just "be happy to have a job". If that is what makes you happy.

8
6
CayshedMar. 6, 13 9:19 AM

OK, so they're ending the "work from home" program. Big deal. More importantly, what about addressing the current levels of executive incompetence and/or the absence of any real competitive analysis or foresight? If all those dishes were on my priority plate, I'm not so sure I'd be diving into the work from home issue quite so fast. Do as you must, at least it's interesting morning fodder for those of us in the "real world".

14
1
FrankLMar. 6, 1310:24 AM

wallinm, I think you hit it right. This change of policy at BBY and Yahoo is more to say, "times are changing". Plus, if people get frustrated and leave, that's much cheaper than having to fire them. As one poster said, "the captain only calls all hands on deck when the ship is sinking".

10
1

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT