On Saturday, I appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss Yahoo’s decision to no longer allow employees to telework and to explain why I wasn’t surprised by the announcement.
The complete segment is below; however, here are the main points I emphasized:
- The issue is not Yahoo specifically. The real story is “how to make flexible work succeed for both business AND people?” It’s not necessary to throw the “flexibility baby out with the bath water” when it’s not working.
- There are many steps an organization can take to fix and reposition work flexibility when it’s failing. You don’t have to make it all-or-nothing: work from home all the time, or come into the office ever day.
- Flexible work was broken at Yahoo. They most likely (as evidenced by they fact telework was referred to as a “benefit”) didn’t implement telework correctly to begin with.
Here are the three things every organization needs to do to avoid becoming Yahoo, and now Best Buy:
- Train your people–Most “abuse” of work flexibility is cluelessness: We all need to learn how to use flexibility to manage our everyday work+life fit in a way that works for us and our jobs. It is a modern skill set that most of us don’t have and we all need. My new book TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day (Center Street/Hachette) shows everyone “how to.”
- Put the technology in place to encourage sharing, collaboration and communication and then expect people to use it. Many organizations do not invest enough in this extra layer of systems and support.
- Have clarity and accountability about expectations not only about results but how the job will get done effectively and efficiently for everyone. Review and revise often. And if someone isn’t using work flexibility as expected, they don’t get to continue.
This is not about Yahoo and Marissa Mayer. The real story is how do we make work flexibility a powerful strategy that helps both business and people succeed? If we can stay focused on that, then we can use this moment to make it better for everyone. What do you think?