Was the telecommuting craze a failed experiment?

IBM remote workers 8h3w

Remember the time Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting at Yahoo and started a media firestorm? Some thought she’d flipped her lid. Others said she’d made a grave mistake that would kill morale. Well, she hadn’t and it didn’t. That was one of the few things she did right in her ill-fated attempt to turn around the hapless internet portal.

While the former Googler didn’t intend to start a trend, she did. HP followed suit a few months later. Then came Best Buy, Bank of America, Aetna and others.

Last week, IBM gave thousands of virtual workers an ultimatum: either show up in the office, or go work somewhere else. Considering that Big Blue pioneered the “anytime, anywhere workforce” decades ago, that sort of closes the books on what has turned out to be yet another overhyped management fad.

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USPTO Embraces Virtual Workforce

 USPTO Embraces Virtual Workforce

USPTO Commissioner John Doll talks abouts plans to expand the USPTO
Patent Hoteling Program at a recent DaVinci Institute event

As a solution to the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) difficulties in recruiting and retaining high caliber patent examiners and other critical personnel to move to the Washington, DC area, the agency has embraced a telework policy that it intends to grow over the coming years. The telework programs allow people to live and work in cities throughout the US and commute back to DC for meeting and training.

By 2011, more than 3,000 patent examiners will be teleworking.

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