When Marissa Mayer announced she was going to axe telecommuting at Yahoo! the uproar was heard worldwide. The decision came after the senior management team had reportedly checked the VPN logs and noticed that too few employees were logging in. This should have raised more questions than just the ‘are our telecommuting employees actually working?’. Instead, they should have analyzed whether they were providing the proper tools for those telecommuting employees to do their job and do it efficiently.
There are three main features needed in the right knowledge sharing and collaboration tool:
- Sleek interface: To get employees excited about entering a new tool into their everyday lives, it needs to be easy on the eyes. It can’t be clunky and look like it was developed in the days of WindowsME.
- Ask, answer, search: When an individual has a question, they turn to Google to find an answer. Having a “Google” like feature within your companies knowledge base is hugely beneficial. Users can search for their question and if it hasn’t been asked yet, they can ask it then await the right answer. That question will never have to be answered again, it will forever be stored within the company’s knowledge base.
- Make it social: In today’s world of everything Twitter and Facebook, why not incorporate ‘social like’ features into the company knowledge base – they are obviously popular with humans. By giving employees the option to ‘high five’ a post or edit their profile will assist in building morale while getting to know the employees they may not see on a daily basis.
In the never ending cycle of trying to gain a work life balance, employers should aid in making that process easier, not more stressful. Empowering employees with the tools necessary to engage, collaborate and share information with the click of a button, no matter their geographic location, is exactly what Yahoo! and other companies who are opposed to telecommuting need to consider. They do exist.