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Working remotely: Good or bad?

Posted on March 1st, 2013 Read time: 1 minutes

This week, Yahoo made a bold move by mandating remote employees return to the office. The company's announcement sheds light on a question many companies are facing: Does allowing employees to work from home increase productivity or stifle innovation?

There are several arguments for both sides of the debate. Allowing employees the flexibility to telecommute allows them to adapt their work schedule more effectively, ultimately increasing engagement and output. Meanwhile, screen-to-screen communication has its limits. Collaboration is often much stronger if people are interacting side-by-side.

As employers and HR administration professionals review the pros and cons of each side, they should consider how much value employees place on the ability to work remotely.

According to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology, an information technology solutions provider, three-quarters of IT professionals said the possibility to telecommute was at least somewhat important when considering a new job. Of the 23 percent that ranked it as very important, many said working from home boosted their productivity because they were exposed to fewer interruptions.

Meanwhile, in a separate study from the Chartered Management Institute, 75 percent of surveyed employees said they're most productive when they're able to control where and when they work.

In addition, in terms of job benefits, 11 percent deemed flexible work schedules more important than salary and holiday allowance.

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