A few days after Yahoo!’s new CEO Marissa Mayer issued the news that Yahoo employees are no longer permitted to work from home, Best Buy terminated its own flexible work policy, reported CNNMoney.com on March 5.
The Best Buy policy, known as ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), was established in 2005, and hailed as a terrific model by flexible-work advocates.
Best Buy has struggled recently with profitability, and also brought in a new CEO to turn things around. Best Buy spokesman Mark Furman said, “It's 'all hands on deck' at Best Buy, and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business."
Some of the company’s 4,000 non-store employees may still be permitted to work a flexible schedule and to telecommute, but only with the approval of their managers. Previously, the employees were permitted to make the decision alone.
Work-home balance proponents argue that the steps taken by Yahoo! and by Best Buy represent a step backwards in the evolution of the workplace. Critics say that it is disproportionately unfair to women, and that today’s technology should permit far more flexibility than most companies currently permit.
On the other side, those who support the “butts in seats” policy claim that it is too difficult to collaborate when people are not face-to-face.