Yahoo was in the news again for ALL the wrong reasons. Marissa Mayer, the new CEO called back employees from their "virtual" offices to once again occupy their "physical" cubicles, ending the flexible work programme.
MOMS ON THE WARPATH
As a direct result of this policy change at the struggling internet company, many moms and die hard critics took to their blogs and airwaves to voice their distaste for this "Executive" decision.
These same moms felt slighted that Ms. Mayer also built a nursery so her baby could be with her in the office. This anger was not abated albeit Ms. Mayer used her own money to do this. They believed she should have built ONE nursery for everyone.
YAHOO'S REAL ISSUES
The issue with Yahoo is NOT their flexible work programme, it is their identity. They were once the power house of internet search engines but lost considerable shares to Google and Facebook. They have to get back to what they did best; importantly, what they were known for, and do it better than anyone else. Hopefully, with Ms. Mayer's technical background, they will do just that.
Internet based entities derive their revenue from advertisers. Once content driven, these companies must now be the vehicle where consumers can build their own content. They achieve this by creating viable social networking and mobile services that drive users and importantly, more advertisers.
If a company is looking to reduce overhead, look first at your real estate. Yahoo has a massive, five-story, 820,000 square ft campus with a three-story parking garage. The cost to build it was just under $300 million. The cost to run it? We can only imagine. More than 200 employees telecommute. That is a lot of empty cubicles!
As a proponent of the "virtual" company, we favour telecommuting as a viable option for workers. But then, we do not have the overhead Yahoo has in physical space planning.
BALANCE IS KEY
With any HR related programme that effects workers, there has to be balance. This implies workers being able to negotiate the terms. Instead of committing all workers to a 40 hour work week, the company might offer a part time stay at home option instead. This might lessen the degree of "culture shock" that comes from impulse decision.
As Confucius says, "It is better to turn up the heat with the frog already in the water, than to plop the poor frog in when the water is already boiling. OK, not Confucius, but you get the point.
There is no bad intention here. Therefore, the firestorm that followed Ms. Mayer's decision, was a bit misguided. We live in such a reactionary society. Everything it up for negotiation. Then there is always the exit strategy.
BEST BUY FOLLOWS SUIT
Following suit is retail giant Best Buy who had lost considerable revenue shares and was on a free fall in 2012 with almost 50% stock drop.
They are on board with a new CEO, Hubert Joly who took over from Brain Dunn. Hopefully Mr. Joly could do something about the lacklustre customer service experiences at local Best Buy. Remember Circuit City?
BEST BUY REAL ISSUES
Best Buy might follow suit, but getting rid of their Results-Only work environment (ROWE) programme is not the answer. Best Buys was an early proponent of the flexible work schedule giving their corporate employees an opportunity to control when they worked and where they worked. This programme did not apply to store employees.
BEST BUY @BEST
The company was an early innovator. It started out as a "mom and pop" style small business. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions and venture partnerships, and a name change, it grew into a multinational consumer electronics retailer.
As Best Buy grew and diversified., it recognized the need to service customers and build revenue. It found a viable entity in The Geek Squad, an independent company, that merged to become a subsidiary.
The Geek Squad services expanded beyond computers to include all electronics such as TVs, printers and cameras. Their Black Tie Protection and other warranty and technical programmes provided in-store services. The days of sending laptops out to the manufacturer was over.
In addition, the Geek Squad offered 24 hours of service including remote support for computer issues. If you had their warranty and your hardware could not be fixed, it was replaced...free of charge.
Even IF the retail giant offered a price match for products found on Amazon. the latter still offered free shipping and no taxes in most instances.
BEST BUY @WORST
The problem with Best Buy is their local store's "non-existent" customer service base. The following is a list of deficiencies we have experienced OR noted to us:
1. No one in the department.
2. No acknowledgement of presence by any employee.
3. Service desk wait time 27 minutes without notice
4. 45 degree angle stance of employees when talking.
5. Lack of knowledge of products and services.
6. Gaggle of employees when customers are waiting.
7. ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE Less than ideal.
8. No sense of urgency.
These were some of the deficiencies noted. It is true that the store employees do not work on commission. Maybe they should,. so they could "work for it."
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