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5/22/2013 - Questions to ask before prohibiting work-from-home

Work-from-home policies are becoming more commonplace at many companies.

Due to the high cost of gasoline and the ease with which many people can get their jobs done through remote technology, more Americans today are opting to stay home to get their work done, instead of going into the office. This has proven to be a valuable way workers can juggle some of their tasks, especially for those who may have young kids to take care of.

In light of this, it likely came as a surprise when Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of internet conglomerate Yahoo, announced that her workers would no longer be able to work from their own residences.

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side," wrote Yahoo's human resources head in a memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

Mayer's decision may have prompted other small and large business owners to consider whether they, too, should do away with their work-from-home options. But according to human resources firm Aon Hewitt, business owners should have an idea of what may happen should they decide to implement a similar ban.

"It's important for employers to remember that virtual work programs are not one-size-fits-all," said Carol Sladek, who heads work-life consulting for Aon. "They need to consider how to best balance workforce productivity with initiatives that attract, engage and retain top talent."

Business owners should ask themselves several questions as well, such as how much collaboration plays into their company's success, if remote capability is something that has enabled them to retain talent and to what extent work-from-home policies have helped them save money, Aon Hewitt notes.

Something else business owners may want to weigh is how working from home affects their business owners insurance plan. Policyholders may want to discuss with their insurer how allowing or disallowing this option may affect their liability coverage if workers are injured while on the clock but away from the office.

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