Best Buy Ends 'Results-Only' Telecommuting, Following Yahoo's Lead

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 11:43 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Best Buy Co. will no longer allow its corporate employees to work from home or other locations whenever they want, in a change of policy that marks a shift from a results-based work environment to a more traditional arrangement.

As of Monday, the electronics corporation's 4,000 nonstore employees who previously took advantage of its “Results Only Work Environment,” or ROWE, will have to get a manager to sign off on any work done via telecommuting or from home.

“It used to be a right about which a manager had no say. Now it's a conversation,” Best Buy spokesman Matt Furman told CNN Money in an email. “We believe in employee flexibility but are looking for it to come in the context of a conversation between that employee and their manager.”

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ROWE, which allowed employees to work when and where they wanted as long as the job got done, made a splash when it was enacted in 2005, earning a spot on the cover of BusinessWeek and drawing praise from flexible-schedule advocates. Critics complained it cut down on valuable office face time.

But with the company's new CEO and more competition from online stores like Amazon, Best Buy couldn’t sustain its work-from-home business model.

“In the context of a business transformation, it makes sense to consider not just what the results are but how the work gets done,” Furman told CNN Money. "It’s ‘all hands on deck’ at Best Buy, and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.”

Last week, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a no-telecommuting or work-from-home policy for her employees, sparking a debate about the pros and cons of the option.

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“Being at Yahoo isn’t just about your day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are possible only in our offices,” said a Yahoo Human Resources memo issued at the direction of Mayer that was leaked by company employees. “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”

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