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禁止远程办公成不了气候

Nin-Hai Tseng 2013年03月11日

先是雅虎,而后是百思买,这两家公司先后取消了不坐班的政策。你的公司是否也会紧随其后,禁止员工在家办公呢?应该不会。因为目前这两家公司处境不妙,坐班政策只是为了配合自救行动的权宜之计。从长远来看,它不会成为大的潮流。

    上周,百思买(Best Buy)继雅虎(Yahoo)之后宣布取消在任意地点办公的政策,不过这并不意味着禁止远程办公将成为美国公司的一种新趋势。除非公司正陷入绝望的困境,无法扭转局面,否则,在家办公的政策仍然会得到保留。

    百思买和雅虎的政策变化有着特殊的背景。这两家公司正处于困难时期,为了扭转局面,都重新任命了CEO。与其他零售商一样,百思买的销售一直被亚马逊(Amazon)等在线竞争对手所蚕食。去年三月,这家消费电子零售巨头宣布进行大规模重组,措施包括关闭店铺,减少工作岗位和削减数百亿美元开支。

    雅虎也在酝酿一场颇受关注的复兴行动。过去几年,公司收入下滑,而谷歌(Google)和Facebook等公司则获得了更多的用户和广告收入。无论我们喜欢与否,这两家公司都在考虑改变基本公司文化,要求员工到办公室办公。上周早些时候,去年八月刚刚接管百思买的新任CEO休伯特•乔利表示,公司将终止“结果至上的工作环境”。这种环境允许员工在任何他们想去的地方办公,包括在家办公。这家连锁店的非店铺员工仍可在办公室之外的地点办公,但现在必须获得管理者的批准。同样,去年七月上任的雅虎CEO梅丽莎•梅耶也在上个月推出一项政策,禁止员工在家办公。

    多年以前,这或许算不上什么大事。但如今,远程办公已经司空见惯,于是,这种改变便引发了无尽的愤怒。然而,不论批评家们怎么说,百思买和雅虎不见得就是要与在家办公的员工作对。毕竟这两家公司都深陷困境,希望采取大规模行动来扭转局面。如果过多员工不在办公室,这些措施就很难产生效果。网络杂志Slate的马特•伊格雷西亚斯认为,取消在家办公政策可能只是一个迂回手段,目的是为了解雇能力不足的员工,削减成本。

    雅虎和百思买的做法不可能蔓延到健康的公司。毕竟,美国公司看到的仍然是在家办公的好处。正如《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)所说,与以前相比,越来越多的美国人每周至少会在家工作一天。这已经成为一种趋势。这种做法提高了工作效率,降低了成本,让公司受益匪浅。《华尔街日报》引用美国人口统计局的报告称,2010年,约9.4%的美国员工,相当于1,340万人,每周至少在家工作一天,而在1997年这一比例仅有7%,即920万人。

    如果雅虎和百思买能在几年后扭转目前的颓势,然后你发现这两家公司的员工又重新回到自己的家里办公室,那也不是什么值得大惊小怪的事。(财富中文网)

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓

    Best Buy followed Yahoo this week by ending its work from anywhere policy, but that doesn't mean there's a new trend in corporate America. Unless you're at a struggling company desperate to turn business around, working from home is here to stay.

    The changes at Best Buy (BBY) and Yahoo (YHOO) are unique; they come amid hard times in which both companies have tapped new CEOs to turn things around. Best Buy, like other retailers, has been losing sales to online rivals such as Amazon (AMZN). Last March, the consumer electronic big box chain announced a major restructuring that includes closing stores, cutting jobs and trimming hundreds of millions of dollars in costs.

    Yahoo is also orchestrating a closely watched turnaround. Its revenues have declined in the past few years as companies like Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) garner more users and advertising dollars.

    Like it or not, both companies are looking to change their basic corporate cultures by getting employees to work -- where else? -- at the office. Under CEO Hubert Joly, who joined the company last August, Best Buy said earlier this week it will kill its Results Only Work Environment, which allowed employees to work wherever they wanted, including home. The chain's 4,000 non-store employees could still work out of the office, but now they will need a manager's approval. Similarly, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who was tapped for the top spot last July, instituted a policy last month that says employees could no longer work from home.

    Years ago, the announcements might not have been such a big deal. But now that working remotely seems almost routine, the changes have unleashed endless outrage. Whatever critics are saying, Best Buy and Yahoo aren't necessarily against employees working from home. They are troubled companies taking big measures to turn things around. It's hard to effect change when so many employees don't come into the office. And as Slate's Matt Yglesias suggested, the end of work from home policies may really just be a back-handed way to lay off unproductive employees and cut costs.

    What's happening at Yahoo and Best Buy won't likely carry over to healthy companies. After all, corporate America still sees the benefits of the home office. As The Wall Street Journal highlighted, more Americans are working from home at least one day a week than ever before. It's a trend that has benefitted corporations by boosting productivity and lowering costs. About 9.4% of U.S. workers, or 13.4 million people, worked at least one day at home per week in 2010, compared with 7%, or 9.2 million, in 1997, according to a Census Bureau report cited by theJournal.

    Years from now, if Yahoo and Best Buy turn their businesses around, it may not be that surprising to find their employees back at their home offices.

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