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Working From Home: Right or Privilege?

My social media streams have been flooded with talk about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to discontinue the company's work-from-home option since it hit the news. In a memo sent to employees recently, telecommuters were informed that every employee must find a way to be working at the office by June or risk being out of a job.

This, of course, has unleashed quite a controversy with people screaming about it from both sides. Some believe this announcement is two steps backward for the tech company, while others say they think it was a necessary business decision to be made.

The fact that a mom, who had a nursery built next to her office, made this decision has poured salt on the wound. Not every parent has the chance to have their kids next to their office and working from home is the way many use in an effort to balance our professional and personal life. According to a 2012 report by the Center for American Progress (Working Parents' Lack of Access to Paid Leave and Workplace Flexibility), Latino parents are the least likely group of working parents to have access to paid leave or workplace flexibility to improve work-life balance for parents.

I'm a mom with a full-time job. I don't work entirely from home, but have been blessed with a very understanding boss that allows me certain flexibility.

In a previous job, I was in an office all day. I wasn't a mom yet, and for the life of me, when I think back, I'm not sure how the moms that worked there did it. If I leave at 6 p.m., have an hour-long commute and my son's after school care closes at 6 p.m., what am I supposed to do?

When I started a new job and was handed a laptop, I felt I was gaining my freedom. But it's really a mixed bag of perks, responsibilities and even disadvantages. How many work-at-home parents find themselves checking emails and still working after the kids go to sleep, or check your emails early in the morning? I know I do.

The way I see it, I might leave early to go pick up my son but I'm checking emails and doing paperwork after he's in bed so that it evens out—but what happens when it doesn't? Here is where I'll play a bit of a devil's advocate. Like everything in life it's very easy to take advantage of something good. Like we say in Spanish, "te dan la mano y tomas el codo"—equivalent to "give someone an inch and they take a mile."

Is working from home or having a flexible schedule a good fit for everyone? Probably not. Each person has to decide with their manager if working from home is a right fit. Is it easy to take advantage of it? Yes! And I think most people with work-from-home privileges would admit they've taken advantage of their employer's flexibility at one time or another along the way.

A few weeks ago, my husband's company amended its work-from-home privileges because some people were not doing their work, so everyone is paying the consequences.

With a giant tech company such as Yahoo eliminating an ability for people to work from home, what will this mean for other companies, large and small? Will they follow suit? What's a mom to do with kids after school or daycare if she can't get there in time to pick them up?

The debate over Mayer's decision and whether it's anti-family continues to rage on all over the Internet. What do you think? Will it push other companies to throw out their telecommuting policies? Or will other companies offer work-from-home options as an incentive, as a way of showing they care and understand work-family life balance?

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