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Kristen Fife's Blog

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

2013-02-25 10:42:26

There is a huge hue and cry about a recent announcement from Yahoo! that they are going to change their remote, work-from-home culture and require their employees to go into the office. The Huffington Post labels the decision as "Marissa Mayer's Work-From-Home Ban Is The Exact Opposite Of What CEOs Should Be Doing", saying it is a step backwards.

Detractors are decrying this business decision, and I would like to point out a few things.

1) Marissa Mayer was hired to turn around a failing, irrelevant business. She was hired from Google, a company that is *known* for a close, collaborative atmosphere. If you have ever been to a Google office, you know that the company, one of the top 3 most successful brands *in the world*, does everything possible to make employees WANT to be there and work.

2) There is no mention of whether or not the remote culture was successful. My guess is that the company did an analysis of productivity and found that remote workers were less productive than they used to be. Obviously something isn't working for the business given their numbers the last few years.

3) The individuals that are so negative regarding this decision do not know that this is a permanent status; it may very well be a temporary decision for the company.

4) The outrage seems to be that Yahoo! isn't valuing the "need" for parents to have a flexible schedule for work life balance. Yahoo! isn't a daycare; it is a BUSINESS. If adults choose to have careers and families, it is their responsibility to make their lives balance, not their employer's. Employees are certainly free to seek other employment options if these changes don't "work" for them.

There are several large companies in the last few years that have had remote work forces that have made major cuts: Sun Microsystems and IBM both come to mind. I personally have friends at both companies that were adversely affected and were working from home. Both of them have had to move (one across country, one two states) to find jobs to support themselves.

I personally applaud Marissa Mayer for having the conviction to make changes and build a culture of productivity and collaboration. The future is flexible, especially in technology. We don't know what the future holds and whether this change will herald a revitalized Yahoo! or be a business debacle. Either way, change is definitely needed.

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Kristen Fife: Re: - Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce
2013-02-27 08:58:36

Martin, I stand by my belief that Yahoo is making the right decision, and the culture in Silicon Valley, and most other global tech companies, is currently face to face collaboration.

Yahoo is defining productivity in different ways than "minutes worked" in terms of collaboration and innovation. "Cost Benefit" is not electric bills or dollars per square foot, but synergy. While I advocate flexibility for people to work occasionally from home if needed, in the case of Yahoo the abuse has been widespread and long-standing. Redefining the work culture is a needed strategy:

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