When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned her employees from working from home, she triggered a national debate about the future of telecommuting.
We wanted to uncover what the people who generally decide and enforce companies’ remote-work policies – C-level executives and HR professionals – really think about this topic. Do they envy Mayer’s move? What would such a prohibition mean for their businesses?
Fortunately, here at Maven we have THOUSANDS of these types of professionals in our global network, and the means to survey them. So we did. And guess what… turns out, despite Mayer’s headline-grabbing mandate, executives overwhelmingly support telecommuting!
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being “Strongly oppose” and 10 being “Strongly Favor”), a whopping 74% responded with an 8, 9 or 10 when asked their opinion of telecommuting.
Furthermore, the shift towards increasingly liberal telecommuting policies isn’t a response to employee pressure – it actually comes in almost equal measure from company management:
On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being “Employees” and 5 being “Company Management”), please rate your overall opinion of who is more responsible for the increase in telecommuting over the past several years (i.e. who is “pushing” more for telecommuting).
Why the enthusiasm for remote working among this group? The ability to attract top talent, for one. Forty-two percent cite that as one of telecommuting’s two biggest benefits (right after the always-popular workplace maxim: it promotes “work/life balance,” cited by 52 percent of respondents, the most common response). And a whopping 70% say telecommuting means more productive and happy employees.
These opinions seem to be held rather fervently, as Mayer didn’t find any true allies among our survey respondents. Nearly one-in-five (18%) say they flat-out oppose her new policy, and another 24% say it’s a band-aid to distract people from Yahoo’s problems. Forty-six percent, however, believe the policy is right for Yahoo, but other companies should not follow suit. And twelve percent actually think it’s bad for Yahoo, but could work for other companies. Not one respondent strongly supported it.
Here’s our takeaway… professionals who enjoy the perks of working from home can rest assured that Yahoo is not a harbinger of telecommuting’s future. If executives have their way, our survey suggests, remote work will remain a defining characteristic of many business settings.
Survey methodology: Between March 19 and 25, 2013, Maven surveyed 50 executives and human resources professionals regarding their views on telecommuting (aka remote work).