5 For Friday: Remote Workforce

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Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

Everyone has been talking about the business pros and cons of telecommuting this week after Yahoo's big announcement that they are pulling the rug out from under their work-from-home agreements. Is Yahoo's move to get workers back in the office a sign of a shift? Here are some of this week's most interesting views on the subject.

Hey, Marissa: Remote Workers Can Collaborate Too, Drake Baer, FastCompany
In this article, the point is made that it's the remote worker's responsibility to maintain open and active lines of communication. Pointers to make your telepresence felt include emailing your boss, checking in with updates, picking up the phone and calling in to the office to make the workflow smoother.

Telecommuting — Does it Work? Caleb Garling, The Syndey Morning Herald
Is the work-from-home revolution a myth? The idea has not caught fire as many predicted it would. Working from home is on the rise, but it doesn't quite match the pace of technological revolution. People still work better around others and get added value out of the in-between moments and casual conversation that can only take place in the workplace. While an occasional day at home is fine, being in the office is usually more productive.

Experts Boil Telecommuting Decisions Down to Flexibility Vs. Serendipity Yuki Noguchi, NPR
It is true that the serendipitous interactions between people are how some of the best ideas get started. However, it is just a bit ironic that Yahoo, a company all about remote communication technologies like email instant messaging, is no longer supporting remote working. Yahoo is moving against the grain in a world where today's top talent values flexibility even more than money.

Special Focus: The Benefits and Pitfalls of Telecommuting Laura Walter, EHS Today
Not everyone agrees that being physically present in the workplace is best for productivity and employee morale. Occasionally working from home improves productivity by letting workers deal with one-time events without having to take a day off work. Occasional telecommuting has also been touted as improving health and work-life balances. But overdoing it can have the opposite effect with stress caused by blurring the lines between home and work.

In Telecommuting Debate, Aetna Sticks by Big At-home Workforce Caroline Humer, Reuters
In 2012, 63% of companies allowed some form of working from home. Many list it as one of the best ways to attract and retain key talent. Aetna is a trailblazer with 47% of it's workforce working from home, a move that saves the company money in real estate costs and retention. Good management and a company culture built around the practice make telecommuting work well for Aetna.

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