Best Buy Joins Yahoo, Kills Flexible Work Program

Flexible work program ends at Best BuyRecently Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ignited a national debate by banning work-from-home jobs. Now Best Buy Co. has followed suit. On Monday, it announced that it ended its much-vaunted program allowing corporate employees to work flexibly, where and when they want.

According to a report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Best Buy -- a struggling electronics retailer that has gone through many rounds of layoffs -- has ended its Results Only Work Environment program. The ROWE program, begun in 2005 and lavishly praised by work-family experts, allowed employees to work when and wherever they wanted, provided that they got their work done; employees were evaluated based on results, not the number of hours logged in the office. Best Buy employees now would need to secure the permission of a manager in order to work from home, and based on top managements' recent statements, that will not be granted so easily.

More: ROWE: The Grown-Up Version Of Work

In a statement released to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Best Buy spokesman Jeff Shelman said, "To be clear, this decision is entirely about ensuring we are doing everything we can to reinvigorate our company and grow it for the benefit of all stakeholders, including all employees."

Previously, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly had indicated that he felt that turning around the company required staff working in the office. In mid-February, he called ROWE "fundamentally flawed from a leadership standpoint." Turning around Best Buy -- an effort dubbed "Renew Blue" -- requires everyone "mobilized as a team," Joly said, according to the Star-Tribune.

In early March, Best Buy laid off 400 workers at the company's Richfield, Minn., headquarters.
Although Best Buy reported better than expected earnings the first quarter of this year, it still faces stiff competition from internet behemoths, like Amazon. An analyst told CNBC that the company is "like the Titanic heading for the iceberg. It's going to take probably two or three years to turn this ship around, and they're going to crash into the iceberg before they can get it turned around."

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Work from home for corporate workers?? What more perks do they need, with bonuses, etc. for marginal output.... no wonder these companies tank!! Too bad the Aviation biz can't allow us mechanics the work from home option when we overhaul jetliners :):)

August 26 2013 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would venture that the next step will be for Best Buy to close another 100 non-productive stores. The only item they really make a profit on is cables where a cable worth $10 sells for $120. Most BB supervisors and managers are low-information individuals with poor judgement and questionable people skills. When in a Best Buy its hard to find someone to help you; and when you do find someone you are usually sorry you did since they know little or nothing about their products although they look pretty spiffy in their blue shirts.

In many stores the number of employees has been cut to bare-bones except for the front-door security that look like they are frothing at the mouth and ready to wrestle you to the ground if you look suspicious. At the end of the day, employees are usually "patted down" and given a quick frisk. Hey, remember that store "Nobody Beats the Wiz".

August 26 2013 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If they would add some honesty with their customers, along with hiring people who know about the products, that would help their "brand". I have found their "brand" untruthful on purpose to get me to wait beyond my warrantee limit. I don't go there anymore, and I tell others.

March 06 2013 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just wait a few months, everybody from Best Buy will be able to work from home or any place they want too, as long as it isn't Best Buy. The brain is dead,the corpse is just moving a little. R.I.P. Best buy.

March 06 2013 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We all know how much "work" most people are doing from home. It's a win win for the employees only. If it is some type of work where you only get paid by the time logged on (or something that is trackable), I can see it working, but otherwise, I'm surprised any company allows it.

March 06 2013 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Lynda's comment

maybe for lazy people like yourself. I took a day off last month and my wife (who works from home) did more in 1 day than I see anyone in my office doing. some people are self starters but the drones must be watched over.

March 06 2013 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to waagtod's comment

sadly, it appears she is the exception rather than the rule. i mean if you think about it, why would a company change a popular work policy unless it was truly hurting the viability of the company?

March 06 2013 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Many statistical studies have been done on people who telecommute and it has been proven time and time again that they are more productive than their office-bound counterparts. My personal experience is that I could get more done in 4 hours at home than 8 at the office because of fewer distractions and removing the need to respond to everybody who stopped by my cube just to say "Hi".

March 06 2013 at 6:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to momsladiebug's comment

One of my tenants works from home. We have been putting in a new kitchen in their apartment, and I'm blown away by the amount of work she does. She works more than 8 hours each day, and works the entire hour without stopping for coffee and talking to everyone on the phone, etc. Her employer is getting more than a day's worth for his money.

March 06 2013 at 9:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

you work for a company you go in evy day punch a time clock or no job

March 06 2013 at 12:21 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Poor customer service and false advertising is their trademark. Surprised they're still in business.

March 06 2013 at 11:31 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

I work with a lot of people who work from home. Their productivity ranges from good to worse than poor.
Face it, many or most do not have the discipline to productivley work away from the office.

March 06 2013 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most people working at headquarters of retailers work uber hours. 24/7 is our middle name. Now that unions are dead and they have us without leverage, they are taking away the things that help make the ridiculous hours stand-able. We are quickly turning back into sweat shops for some industries, like IT.

It will also result in more women leaving the workplace. One relative has been telecommuting, and had a baby. Her plan was to hire someone to care for the child, while she worked from home. Many moms are much more comfortable keeping an ear or eye on things. If she couldn't work from home, she would leave her job. There are enough strains on women as it is. Even the CEO of Yahoo who got rid of telecommuting has a crib in her office. Of course, none of the other employees get that.

March 06 2013 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

We have a Best Buy here and I don't know how they stay in business with their poor customer service. But aside from that, if I owned that business, there would be no working from home. If you work for me, you work by my rules, not yours.

March 06 2013 at 11:09 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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