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Celebrating Telework Week

by Beth on March 6th, 2013

Since this is Telework Week, I thought I’d discuss the critical role that telecommuting plays in creating positive workplaces where employees thrive. I was shocked and extremely disappointed when Marissa Mayer decided to ban working from home at Yahoo!. How could a tech company with a female CEO make such an out-of-touch, backwards decision?

Technology has allowed companies to stop babysitting their employees and to focus instead on what really matters; results. Thanks to technology, people no longer have to be physically side-by-side in order to communicate and collaborate. Research shows that teleworkers are more satisfied, more productive, work longer hours, take fewer days off, and are less likely to quit.

Having the option to work from home is necessary for people to balance their work and non-work responsibilities. Workplace flexibility allows parents to attend their children’s after-school activities and eat dinner together as a family. It makes it possible for people to take care of their aging parents. It provides Generation Y workers the option of working when and where they are most productive. Work-life balance is important for everyone and forcing people to work set hours in the office deprives them of the control they need to perform at their best.

In a survey I did of women workers, I found that job control significantly reduced work-life conflict. In her article, Why women still can’t have it all, Anne-Marie Slaughter explained that, “having control over your schedule is the only way women who want to have a career and a family can make it work.” She left her job as Director of Policy Planning at the State Department because the inflexible schedule made it impossible for her to spend enough time with her teenage sons.

Interestingly, Slaughter’s prior positions as a law professor and as dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, while both extremely demanding jobs, did allow her the flexibility to be with her children when needed and still get her work done. It’s not high job demands, but rather a lack of control that leads talented women to reject certain jobs.

That is why I’m celebrating Telework Week and I hope you will join me in spreading the word that flexible work options are the only smart option.

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