ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: Law Technology News
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Three Reasons You Shouldn't Telecommute
Last week, I criticized CEO Marissa Mayer's draconian ban against working from home for all Yahoo Inc. employees. As someone who has personally fought this battle, I am absolutely convinced that having the ability to work from home makes me far more productive and less grumpy. Without the arrangement, I might have quit my job years ago, and you wouldn't be reading my rants. Think of the loss.
But as much as I'm an advocate for flexibility, I've always had a suspicion that there are career costs to working off-site.
Unfortunately, my hunch is right. According to a newly released study by Stanford and Beijing Universities, working from home benefits both efficiency and morale but not the career prospect of the individual employee. The study finds that employees of a Nasdaq-listed Chinese travel agency who worked from home increased their performance by 13 percent and reported greater work satisfaction; this resulted in fewer turnovers. But here's the downside:
"Their promotion rate conditional on performance fell."
In fact, those who worked from home got 50 percent fewer promotions. It's a consequence of being "out of sight, out of mind," says the report, noting:
Supervisors did not notice their performance as much and were less likely to promote them. We heard anecdotal evidence for this from employees and managers during focus groups and interviews, and it was one factor that led some employees to return to the office to avoid what they perceived as a WFH [work from home] promotion "discrimination" penalty.
I'm not surprised by that result. Truth is, there is valuable political capital that's lost when you are working from home. I can think of at least three opportunity costs:
What can I say? You might be far less efficient and productive if you have to show your face at the office daily. But efficiency and productivity are not the main points in winning the career game, are they?