Why I KARE: U of M researcher on telecommuting bans

8:28 PM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - It's the end of working from home for most Best Buy employees, after the Minnesota-based company announces that it is ending its telecommuting program.

Best Buy wants employees to put in more time at the office, as the struggling company tries to improve its performance.

The move comes on the heels of the controversial telecommuting ban at Yahoo.

Frank Douma, a Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, says Best Buy is one of the most prominent employers in the Twin Cities to use telecommuting as an option for employees.

"(Best Buy) rolled it out for everyone to use, so they all had the option to work where they wanted, wherever they wanted, as long as the work got done," Douma said. "Now that is ending. It means that people may not have the prominent example when they're thinking about telecommuting for themselves."

Douma is a transportation researcher, who has studied telecommuting and its overall impact.

"Also, there could be an impact on the transportation system, because that means there is going to be that many more people trying to get to work at the same time as everyone else," Douma added.

He said that concern could grow if the telecommuting model falls out of favor.

"As the economy improves, telecommuting isn't seen as a viable option, that we'll have, probably will lead to increased congestion," Douma said.

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