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Why Mayer might be wrong

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Yahoo’s CEO made headlines when she banned employees from telecommuting, but could there be bigger, longer-term benefits to working outside the office?

Nearly one in nine employees who are allowed to work flexibly are more motivated to go above and beyond their call of duty, compared to 83% of their static peers, a survey of more than a million global employees by Sirota found.

Telecommuting employees also reported to feel more committed and loyal to their current organisation, with 79% saying they would turn down new opportunities even if it offered better pay and benefits. This is significantly higher than the 65% of non-mobile employees who said they would stay.

Employees on a flexi arrangement were also found to be slightly more satisfied with their work-life balance (77% versus 73%). However, this finding was especially pronounced amongst female employees, as 75% are more satisfied the flexi arrangement, compared to 65% of women who work on regular schedules.

The benefits of allowing staff to be flexible may also help companies attract new talent. About 85% of employees who work on a flexible arrangement said they would recommend their company to others.

Sirota’s reported suggested leaders bear in mind the need to consider each employee’s personal working style and role when crafting flexible working arrangements, as not every employee maybe perform successfully working remotely.

“Research shows that the most successful telecommuters are independent, autonomous high performers who are comfortable with solitude. They also work in roles that are information-based and portable, involve minimal instruction or oversight, and require a high degree of concentration,” the report said.

Companies must also set clear performance objectives so employees are held accountable for their own results. Leaders must also ensure there are open lines of communication between the office and the mobile employee.

“In today’s technological world, there are multiple ways to communicate, collaborate, and ideate,” the reported stated.

“But just putting people in the same cube or room is not enough to make creative sparks fly. Make sure your telecommuters are in the loop, and provide them with the tools and resources they need to feel connected and empowered.”

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