Best Buy Joins Yahoo, Kills Flexible Work Program

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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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