Balancing act: Survey says telecommuting threatens career growth

Published: Tuesday, May 7 2013 10:05 a.m. MDT

"I work in financial services and my arrangement is currently 100 percent work from home," Cameron wrote. "I also spent nearly a decade in the office for the same company. I can definitively say that working from home allows far less distraction, and I am far more productive.

"Have you ever noticed people that come in the office early or stay late so they 'can get things done'? No one seems to question if the office environment is even the right idea. It's just accepted as the best because that's always the way it's been done. ... This is a big gaffe for Yahoo. ... They will lose good talent due to this decision, and they've given their competitors an additional benefit to attract talent."

However, a reader who left a comment online felt differently about Yahoo's decision.

"The best worker is the one that wants to be at work, who enjoys their job and wants to improve constantly," this reader wrote. "Even a talented employee, if they do their job well but don't love it, will never really be among the 'best' workers.

"Yes, eventually many get burned out even with a job they loved at one point, but considering that Yahoo is in the technology/innovation industry, having young, motivated, energetic employees who are willing to work all the time for a few years is more important than having a satisfied, older employee who values 'work-life balance.'

"I know this isn't the case for all industries, and I'm really not interested in how useful a good 'work-life' balance is for other industries. Yahoo is in innovation; it's an industry meant for the young, the enthusiastic and the workaholics. If your goal in life is to spend more time with your family, friends and non-work hobbies, you should probably find another industry."

Both of these readers make good points from extremely different points of view. I tend to agree with Cameron, but perhaps we're both wrong.

Once again, I'd be interested in your ideas. Do you think telecommuting will continue to grow in popularity, or will it diminish as the result of a backlash like that seen at Yahoo? If it does flourish, do people who work from home run the risk of missing out on opportunities for advancement? And is that fair for all involved?

Send me your reactions, as I'm sure I'll address this issue again in a future column.

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.