Best Buy Kills Freewheeling Work-From-Home Program

Now, you'll need a manager's permission to telecommute
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2013 6:23 AM CST
Best Buy Kills Freewheeling Work-From-Home Program
In this Thursday Nov 22, 2012 file photo, people wait in line for a Best Buy store to open in Northeast Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek, File)

First Yahoo sparked a backlash by telling workers they had to come into the office; now Best Buy—which has had one of the most progressive telecommuting policies going—is doing much the same thing. Ever since 2005, Best Buy has had a "Results Only Work Environment," meaning non-store employees could work wherever and whenever they wanted, as long as they produced results. On Monday the company ended the policy, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports; workers now have traditional 40-hour weeks, with telecommuting subject to managerial approval.

"When you're in a turnaround situation, it truly is all hands on deck," a Best Buy spokesman told CNET. But the two former Best Buy HR employees who invented ROWE called the decision "downright silly" in a blog post spotted by Business Insider. "They are sending a clear message that they are more concerned with having leadership excel at monitoring the hallways" rather than getting results. Meanwhile, the New York Times today digs inside the Yahoo move, echoing past reports that some telecommuters were barely working, or even taking side jobs. "Morale was terrible," an ex-manager says, "because the company was thought to be dying." (More Best Buy stories.)

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