When the CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, issued a company-wide mandate ending telecommuting, it got me to thinking about how much this could potentially hurt corporate volunteering efforts if other companies decided to follow her lead. According to the most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the volunteer rate declined by 0.3 percent to 26.5 percent for the year ending in September 2012. Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours on volunteer activities during this period, which could be significantly reduced if telecommuting becomes a thing of the past.
To say the least I am not big fan of cubicles, punching a clock, or with people sitting around the office playing games on their computers while waiting for an assignment. My philosophy for a productive work environment is focused squarely on assigning tasks and pushing for the execution of those assigned tasks. Technology has made it possible for millions of Americans to be effective employees without ever physically stepping into the company office.
We continue to do volunteer work for the A Billion Plus Change campaign, Junior Achievement, and Habitat for Humanity, to name a few. Working from what many refer to as their home office, can create volunteer opportunities such as these because of the flexibility involved with working from home. However, Ms Mayer is in the process of turning a high-profile public company around, which does take priority over volunteering efforts in many corporate circles.
That being said, there will be those that will both applaud and criticize Ms Mayer for her decision to end telecommuting. I am willing to bet however, that sooner or later she will likely strike a balance between telecommuting and corporate productivity, which will allow employees the flexibility to pursue volunteer opportunities.