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Telecommuting: Perk or Performance

Telecommuting practices shot through the news this week as a memo was leaked regarding Yahoo’s CEO Marisa Meyers. She chose to make a difficult decision Telecommuting, HR, Yahoo, Productivityminimizing the existing telecommuting practice. Some argue this is an affront to working mothers. While others argue that telecommuting simply doesn’t work without face-to-face communication and engagement.

Regardless of public debate on this topic, one question remains unanswered: Is the issue about the perk or about performance? We have always known that telecommuting does not necessarily improve productivity. There are as many distractions at home as there are in the workplace, if not more.

Much of the success regarding these programs center around the following three keys:

1.    Are the right employees selected for telecommuting?

An ideal telecommuting candidate is a self-starter.  Those who have a sense of self-discipline and can establish a routine under their own motivation are great candidates for a telecommuting program.

2.    Are the right jobs selected for telecommuting?

The costs of telecommuting far outweigh the benefit for some jobs. For example many direct revenue-producing positions require face-to-face connection with customers.

3.    Are expectations and incentives been fully documented and understood?

Throwing people into the mix without fully understanding and communicating expectations is simply doomed for failure for all involved. This is true regardless of the situation or program. Clearly defined expectations combined with clearly defined pay-for-performance programs can be leveraged for successful telecommuting program.

Like any program or practice if left unchecked can run amok with company resources, time, money and productivity. But establishing a strong business case, communication and total rewards strategies can help achieve results.

BONUS! We have two FREE telecommuting calculators for our readers.

1) Cost/Benefit Analysis 2) Scenario Planning Analysis

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About Tresha Moreland

Tresha D. Moreland, MS, MBA, SPHR is an HR thought leader in Human Resource Strategic Management. She has held key human resource leadership roles for over 15 years in multiple industries most recently a senior vice president in the healthcare industry. Tresha is the founder and publisher of HR C-Suite (www.hrcsuite.com). HR C-Suite is a game changer results-based HR strategy website. It is a first-of-it's-kind site that organizes HR strategy based on desired business result. She has developed a business philosophy of integrating human resources with business strategy, thus creating a hybrid HR leadership approach. This approach enables the leveraging human resources to achieve business results.

One comment


  1. Telecommuting is getting a lot of buzz recently due to the Yahoo announcement. Let me digress. Years ago we gave turkeys to all our employees for Thanksgiving. In fact, we did this for so many years, it became an entitlement. When the practice was discontinued, there was a lot of buzz. Much like turkeys, telecommuting is a perk, not an entitlement. As to whether it is or is not related to performance, this can only be answered by the company that allows or provides the telecommuting option. The three key items noted above are excellent. Make sure the program is described as an discretionary option of the company, subject to change or modification at the company’s discretion.

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