With Telecommuting Ban, Mayer Dulls Yahoo's Cutting Edge Further

Author: Steve Woods
Published: February 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I wonder if Yahoo!'s board isn't wondering, with executives like these, who needs enemies....?

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!'s new wunderkind CEO, has caused a bit of office outrage, signing off on an HR memo that effectively ends the practice of telecommuting for its workforce during a delicate transition, despite having enjoyed the benefit herself not long ago.

Tech site AllThingsD received a copy of the internal memo from disgruntled Yahoo! employees. For those that will have great difficulty following this sudden move, it may feel like a form of being told "let them eat cake".

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.", reads one particular paragraph of the HR memo, sent to all Yahoo! employees by HR head Jackie Reses.

"That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

It would appear that Yahoo!'s HR department has not heard of the variety of larger tech companies successfully implementing telecommuting plans, including CISCO, who enjoys the services of 90% of its employees working from home to one extent or another. Leading computing company Intel allows as much as 80% of employees the flexibility they need to balance work and office lives.

Despite trading one chair for another, the men and women who help other tech companies succeed have figured out how to have discussions without being in the same hallway or eating area. They've managed to meet each other through online, socialized interfaces, and they see themselves as part of a team.

I understand a desire to build a team. Mayer, a former Google VP, came from an environment that offered a variety of ways to keep programmers, designers, visionaries and managers at the office, including free food, one day a week to work on anything they'd like, wave pools in the parking lot and much more. If you don't have the employees actually at an office place, how can they enjoy these forms of perks, should Mayer wish to replicate the experience at Yahoo!?

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Article Author: Steve Woods

Tech Geek. Digital Sommelier. Tea Aficionado. Founder of http://www.kupeesh.com Twitter: @YouKnowSteve

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