The Weekend Digest: The Work-at-Home Controversy

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 4 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

How good are your ads?  TED, an advocate of “Ideas Worth Spreading,” has picked its “Ads Worth Spreading” for the third year.

This year’s 10 honored ads and brand content ideas range from comedic to profound, from socially responsible to inspirational, and fall into one or more of six categories: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery, and Education.

To see them all, click on this link.

Maybe not at Yahoo. A company memo announced last week by CEO Marissa Mayer puts an end to home-based employees and “has called them back to the office.”

Some are cheering Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to bring employees closer together, while others say the move is anything but hospitable to working parents. Inevitably, Donald Trump has weighed in, tweeting that Mayer “is right to expect Yahoo employees to come to the workplace vs. working at home. She is doing a great job!”

Read more from the Wall Street Journal about what critics and proponents are saying about this plan that stressed “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

See the whole story by dialing up this link.

Forbes has weighed in on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to eliminate home-based employees and it’s not a glowing recommendation.

Work is not one-size-fits-all—and forcing it to be may put your company on the road to extinction.

Today, for example, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that your best developer is nocturnal, your all-star customer support director lives 1,500 miles away and your most brilliant product manager needs to be home at 4:30 every day to pick up her kids from school.

For the full Forbes’ writer’s reaction to this controversial decision, you don’t have to be at work, just click this link on your browser at home.

Manager, noun.

Textbook Definition: An individual who is in charge of a certain group of tasks, or a certain subset of a company. A manager often has a staff of people who report to him or her.

Modern Translation: An individual who races through the halls in a frantic attempt to make the next meeting on time while also answering e-mails on his or her mobile device.

This would be funny, if it weren’t true. Want to cut-the-cord from those “addictive” meetings and be more productive? Harvard Business Review has tips and a non-meeting menu of progressive ideas.

Your new default should be to choose the least “costly” time investment that still accomplishes the end goal. Don’t schedule a meeting for something that you can solve in a phone call, and don’t make a phone call for something that can be communicated in an e-mail. If you must schedule meetings, challenge yourself to make them leaner. Try out 30-minute or even 15-minute meetings, and set a goal to finish early. If you find you consistently need more time, you can increase the meeting length in the future, but often with increased focus, you won’t need it.

For a more meeting-less environment, go to this link to learn how much time you could save, not to mention freeing up employees to actually do work.

Why do Washington politicians not follow the business principles of negotiation, especially in the great sequestration debate?  That’s the topic explored in this Marketplace report.

John Siegel is a mediator in the Washington, D.C., area who works with families. He says all the nasty language being thrown around shows that, despite their griping and grousing, politicians are still not really in crisis mode. Because if they were, they’d act and speak very differently.

“When the moment of crisis comes they don’t say things to deliberately upset the other people,” he says, “because they need the other people for a solution.”

You can read the full report here.

Despite sitting across the table numerous times to negotiate deals, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner have one of the most strained relationships in modern history.

And the two men reportedly like each other.

Less than two years ago, it seemed plausible that odd-couple diplomacy could prevail, as a Republican House speaker with deep blue-collar roots and a professorial president embarked on what they hoped would be the most ambitious taxation and spending deal in the nation’s history.

But all those grand Obama-Boehner plans have unraveled, and so too has their once-promising partnership — putting strains on their relationship ahead of the first face-to-face negotiations over the sequester that will have already hit the deadline by the time they’re scheduled to meet Friday.

So what’s keeping these two political leaders from finding a solution to the sequester? Read on here.

It was a hundred years ago and her name was Inez Milholland, a 27 year-old-woman, “sitting astride a white horse, in white, flowing, Joan of Arc robes is the most iconic image of that 1913 march.”

When she died three years later, she was hailed as a martyr of the women’s suffrage movement. That she is barely remembered today is part of the challenge and frustration for those who advocate for greater attention to women’s history and for those trying to build a national women’s history museum on the Mall.

At the 100th anniversary of Washington’s Women’s Suffrage Parade on Sunday, participants will march in the bold tradition of suffragette Inez Milholland.

For full details, click on this link from the Washington Post.

Why do you always see Presidents Washington and Lincoln in those Presidents’ Day advertisements? Ever wonder why no one has tried to capitalize on Reagan or Clinton with a Presidents’ Day sale?

Honoring past presidents by shopping is now American tradition, let’s face it. And merchandisers aren’t shy about using Presidents Washington or Lincoln to hawk their wares. But there have to be legal issues surrounding the idea of plastering presidential images on everyday merchandise like coffee mugs or key chains. Right?

No, but wait a minute.

Mitch Stein is a New York attorney who specializes in intellectual property. He says slapping a president’s face on an ad for discounted mattresses is — perfectly legal. Sort of.

So what does that mean? Click on this link from Marketplace to find out the secrets of Presidential permission.

If you haven’t seen this three-minute video of master speed-painter D. Westry, then you’re missing out on an amazing talent. Appearing on the afternoon, Anderson Cooper Live show, Westry amazed the audience with his painting talent.

You have to watch the full video to get the final effect, especially the last 5 seconds. Click here to check it out.

Screen writer, director, actor Ben Affleck has resurrected his once-promising career, especially after his Oscar-award winning “Argo.”

As National Review’s Ross Douthat put it about Affleck in a review from last November, after winning a screenwriting Oscar for “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck spent the next decade embodying Hollywood as we wish it weren’t. He starred in bad action movies, mediocre dramas, lousy comedies, and bloated Titanic wannabes. He made not one, but two bad movies.

Read more about this comeback story from Forbes at this link.