Dr Steve McCabeBy Dr Steve McCabe – Birmingham City University

Writing in Management Today earlier this week, Charles Black, CEO of ‘cloud computing’ company Nasstar PLC, comments on Yahoo’s recent decision to ban its employees from being allowed to work at home.

As Black acknowledges, there is good reason (and research) which supports the notion that allowing people greater freedom over what they do and, significantly, how and where they do it, leads to benefits in terms of increased outputs and motivation.

Black makes clear his view that he believes Yahoo’s decision is correct.

Google also appear to agree with Yahoo and may impose the same expectation on workers.

That cavalier of entrepreneurial innovation Richard Branson does not agree with Yahoo and believes that it is a “backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever.”

The advent of telecommunications and computers in the 1980s and 1990s were advocated as being likely to lead to a more liberated age of people working from locations that allowed them to work more effectively.

Recent research by the TUC suggests that homeworking may be used by one in five workers; especially those over 55.

So, does Yahoo’s decision herald an end to the age of liberation and will future generations be much less likely to enjoy the benefits of being able to work from home?

Indeed, in an age when transport costs are rising rapidly and, in the UK, we have a transport system that increasingly cannot cope, would any decision to ban homeworking in this country make economic sense?

What do you think?

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Dr Steve McCabe

Dr Steve McCabe

Birmingham City Business School