In the small business world, it can often be tempting to follow the lead of a major corporation to determine strategies and best practices. After all, these businesses became the successes they are today for a reason, right? Well, not always.

Case in point: Yahoo. While the internet giant is one of the biggest names in the online world, one of the company's recent moves has left me and many other industry observers rather perplexed. Not long ago, a leaked internal memo from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that employees would no longer be allowed to work from home unless they had a good reason. According to the memo, this policy is in part because the office provides a distinct buzz that employees should experience.

Why experts disagree with Yahoo's telecommuting stance
On the surface, this does not seem like that controversial of a move. Why wouldn't a company want its employees to be around the office instead of goofing off at home? However, Yahoo's move ignores the realities of today's interconnected world. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, Wi-Fi hotspots, collaboration tools, and cloud computing, workers can access requisite materials and communicate with others regardless of their physical location. Here are a few thoughts on telecommuting:

  • The Economist: "Plenty of evidence suggests that letting employees work from home is good for productivity. It allows them to use their time more efficiently and to spend more time with their families and less fuming in traffic jams or squashed on trains."
  • Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson: "If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality. Working life isn't 9-5 any more. The world is connected. Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick."
  • Cove Strategies co-founder Mercedes Schlapp: "Yahoo is one of the most sophisticated technology companies in the world and by now should have figured out how to use its resources efficiently and effectively. Nowadays businesses across the country depend on iPads, iPhones (thank you Steve Jobs) and Blackberries to be more productive and get work done in a timely fashion."

remoteworkingHow technology facilitates remote collaboration
The central commonality expressed by all three experts is that today's technology is the key underlying a successful teleworking program. Small businesses can allow their employees to work from home effectively, but only if they have the proper tools in place.

Fonality understands how beneficial teleworking can be for a small company, which is why our hosted unified communication solution, Heads Up Display, is so ideal. Fonality Heads Up Display places all of your contacts and contact points in one place, to make you communications quicker and more efficient, regardless of location. Real-time presence information allows you to see who’s online, who’s on a call, and who’s available. It’s like having the ability to pop into someone’s office for a quick question from anywhere.

Do you agree or disagree with Mayer's decision? What tools do you use to make sure you or your employees can work well outside of a central office location?