Yahoo ignores benefits of telecommuting

(MoneyWatch) The corporate world has always seemed somewhat suspicious of telework, and telecommuting policies that let employees work from home one or more days a week have always been won through hard-fought victories with management. Telework in general might have taken a major step backwards last week when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced that she was terminating all telework agreements at the embattled company.

According to a memo that was published by All Things D, Mayer wrote: "To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side." That's one of the usual arguments put forth by managers who are distrustful of telecommuting agreements -- they reduce collaboration and productivity. And Mayer clearly thinks that she needs all hands on deck to turn Yahoo around.

That's easy for Mayer to say. She has built a nursery near her office, so she can bring her new baby to work. But some telework advocates worry that Yahoo's bold and very public about face on work-from-home policies will have a chilling effect on telecommuting across industries. If you are trying to get a telework agreement in your own office, or you need to justify the one you already have, here's some fodder to help the good fight:

- Counter to Mayer's logic, studies show that large companies with active telework programs are significantly more productive.

- Stanford University research shows that telework groups routinely outperform in-office groups by 15 percent, and with a higher quality of work.

- Network World points out that The Telework Research Network has a study that shows there's the potential for $500 billion in yearly savings across all industries when you consider real estate, electricity, turnover and other costs.

- Finally, 84 of the top 100 companies on Forbes 2013 list offer telecommuting benefits.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tina Lawson