Tag Archives: Computer Tricks

Telecommuting: After Yahoo’s decision is it on the decline?

( @yahoo #telecommuting )

Image Credit: MadPrime

A few years ago I wrote a post about the benefits of telecommuting for both employers and employees. Since that time, things have changed for me; I don’t work from home very much. My employer hasn’t changed anything, in fact, they are even more comfortable with it. I made some life changes that required me to be closer to my office. That being said, I really appreciate the flexibility of remote work and the culture it has created.

If I need to work different hours because of my kid, nobody is complaining if I sign on at home and knock some stuff out when the little guy is asleep. This flexibility allows me to crush deadlines (keeping the bosses happy) and take care of my family (keeping me happy). This is why I was initially shocked to hear that Yahoo and then Best Buy are ending their work from home programs. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has drawn the ire of many working mothers first by coming back to work soon after giving birth and now eliminating remote work.

People are worried that this will become a trend. It won’t. Both Yahoo and Best Buy are currently struggling. Something needs to change, and Mayer’s “all hands on deck” mentality may be the short term solution that the company needs to get better footing. Most companies are not as agile as Silicon Valley tech firms… telecommuting strategies take time and money. Every trend document I read points to companies investing heavily in remote tools and collaborative technologies in order to reduce real estate costs and pull from a greater talent pool.

Many companies have 3-5 year plans to roll out both technology and HR policies at the same time they reduce their physical footprints to maximize cost savings. Yahoo and Best Buy’s policy change will probably do little to impact these long-term decisions. I would also like to point out that considering both companies market positions, signaling the end of a telecommuting program could now be viewed as a sign of desperation and weakness on the street.

Sometimes a company needs to make a major cultural change, which should start with staff. Think about where Mayer comes from. Google is constantly viewed as a great place to work: they give you free food, their campus is awesome, they do your laundry, they have pods where you can take a nap…

Google does all of this awesome stuff because they don’t want you to leave the building. They take care of all of the stuff you worry about that distracts you from your job so you keep doing more work for them. It is a brilliant strategy when you employ programmers and other workers who do better in teams and clusters. Will it work for every business model? Probably not.

Working from home isn’t going to go anywhere, but Yahoo may go away if Marrisa Mayer can’t turn the ship around. Give her some time to see if the changes she is making will work or fail. Most companies don’t have the ability to offer the perks both Google and Yahoo (Mayer has been making many Google-like changes on Yahoo’s main campus) and they also don’t have the unique real estate overhead, so I don’t think the benefit of telecommuting is going to disappear for normal healthy organizations any times soon.

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Summary: Control your information sources

This week I wrote a few posts on how to manage and share your favorite news sources with friends.  Here are quick links to the entire series:

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Computer Joey: Social Reading (ver 2.0)

Earlier in the week, I told you how to have a much better social reading experience for you and your friends. While researching that article, I came across some next level techniques for more advanced users.

In this article, I will teach you how to use Tumblr to share information across all of your social media accounts. I will also discuss how to use your own custom URL shorten-er with all of these services.

A few things you need to do before we start:

  • You need to read the first article because I am piggy-backing off of stuff I already documented.
  • Get a Tumblr account/blog.
  • Optional: Get a bitly account.
  • Optional: Get a twitterfeed account.

1. Add Tumblr to your share options in Google Reader:

The first article in the series covers how to set up RSS feeds in Google Reader, and the second will tell you what to click on to add various services like Twitter and Facebook. One of the other options is Tumblr. Instead of choosing Facebook or Twitter, pick Tumblr in the options (like the picture above).

Tumblr is more robust than Twitter but still designed to make simple and short posts. It is a great services that allows customization. Here is a quick tutorial on setting up an account:

As mentioned in the earlier post, at the bottom of each article in Google Reader, there will be a share button. When you click on it, the social media options you selected will appear:

When you click on Tumblr, this screen will appear:

You can mess around with more formatting or adding extra information, or you can just click on create post. The screen will wait a few seconds and then close itself.

2. Connecting to your social media accounts:

There are two ways to do this, one simple and one more complicated (but with more metrics).

Simple Method:

If you don’t have a custom URL shorten-er and you don’t care about how many clicks and shares you are getting, you can connect your Tumblr account with Facebook and Twitter:

a. Sign into your tumblr account and go to your news feed blog. Click on “Blog Settings” on the right:

b. Then scroll down to the Facebook and Twitter sections. Click on the check-boxes and then click on the buttons to link your social media accounts and follow the screen instructions:

Your posts to Tumblr (which are fed via your RSS Reader) will now post to social media accounts.

The Complicated Method:

When you create a Tumblr blog, there is a link somewhere on the page for a RSS Feed:

The RSS feed is usually your tumblr blog url with “/rss” at the end.
Example: “http://example.tumblr.com/rss”

a. Once you have your RSS feed url, go to twitterfeed and create a new feed (top right corner). Put your RSS feed in the box:

b. If you want to track your traffic or add your own custom url shorten-er, click on advanced settings in step one:

A few notes on this step:

c. Click “Continue to Step 2”

d. On this screen you can link your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to Twitterfeed. As soon as you post something to Tumblr, it will automatically post that link to your social media sites. When you are done authenticating the services you want to use, click “all done”


I know that was a long post, but once you get this set up, it is really easy to share information with your friends. The added benefits are that they don’t have to share any information about themselves to read your articles, you can see if your posts are actually being read, and you have a repository of all of your shared posts moving forward.

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