Yahoo Issues Statement Over Home-Working Ban: It's Right For Us

"This isn't a broad industry view on working from home--this is about what is right for Yahoo right now."

Yahoo has issued a statement following the outcry over its decision to stop its employees from remote working. The memo, which was leaked on Friday night to the AllThingsD website, said that, from June, working from home would not be tolerated, and anyone who continued to do so would lose their job.

"This isn't a broad industry view on working from home--this is about what is right for Yahoo right now," said the statement, adding that, "We don't discuss internal matters." And that was that.

The resulting firestorm has had commentators up in arms about the decision--although Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer is staying quiet on the subject. Yes, it's a good idea, say some. It's weeding out the second-rate employees who've been on a cushy deal during the firm's wilderness years. No, it's not, say others, who are predicting an exodus of talent from the firm as they hunt for employers with better perks and facilities.

What do you think about Yahoo's management of the news? Who do you think was behind leaking the statement--was it the HR department, led by Jackie Reses, who thought that Friday night would be the perfect time to bury bad news, or was it a number of disgruntled employees? And is the company managing the story or firefighting it? Please, use our comments section in the ways that you know best, with your intelligence and humor.

[Image by Flickr user ishane]

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11 Comments

  • Jim Meredith

    Sometimes the workplace just becomes irrelevant. If I cannot find a way of touching the project I am working on, if I can't connect in a fulfilling way with my colleagues, if I can't uncover an understand the organization's purpose, if I can't get into the flow into the future of the organizations, then, if not otherwise motivated, sitting at home and collecting a check is not bad.

    I think this is a design problem in two domains – the design of a management system and the design of a physical workplace where people find relevance and where they'll really want to be. The mandate to return to the office will be ineffective unless these design problems are solved.

  • AK Lehmann

    This sounds like an excellent move! And Ms. Meyer will have to "eat her cooking" in order for her leadership to succeed. As a new mother, I wonder if this will be good for her baby?? But what do I know? Intuitively I would think babies need their mothers most of all. Maybe pacifiers will do just as well? 

    But for her company, great idea. Yes, I believe best (and most efficient) ideas flourish in face-to-face conversation. Your picture also demonstrates "working at home" danger as well. Are you sure those aren't chocolates in that oat tin?

  • Mike

    I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a temporary measure meant to help find and remove unmotivated staff.  My guess is that for high performers that currently work remotely, a method will be found to keep them satisfied and working.  Mention a popular program recall like this, and immediately the folks that are riding the gravy train jump off, and Yahoo needs to manage staff levels.  What better way than to remove the disaffected, unmotivated types than to threaten to take away a favorite perk?

  • Curt Buermeyer

    Also, Marissa is taking the less risky, higher reward option. 
    The lower risk option is to not take firm control over Yahoo! The status quo will kill Yahoo! The higher risk is being firm, bringing the company back together, and leading them together (the truly commited ones) to a whole new world of mobile. http://wp.me/p1xEWv-gv

  • Craig_gellatly

    I have direct reports who live in different parts of the country in remote offices.  This is about holding people accountable for their responsibilities.  If someone can manage those expectations from a remote office, all the power to the employee and the company.  To think that you need to actually 'see' someone doing the work, to me, seems draconian and top-down.

  • Alexandre Sartini

    Yahoo is in a crisis mode. So there is no point in saying that remote work is more or less efficient. The issue is that Yahoo needs all its employees right now all together. If some talents were staying only because of the package, then they are useless for Yahoo. 

    Remote working actually works when it is correctly implemented with the appropriate management process for it. It seems that the remote work at Yahoo was out of control and given that Yahoo is in a crisis they need to change this really fast.

    They are other solutions of course but they would take way longer than the radical option chosen by Yahoo! So although this approach is certainly not perfect, I think they don't really have the choice.

    Now the question about whether Yahoo should start communicating with the media on this story is quite difficult. It is an internal matter so it be discussed with their employees in priority. In my opinion they should keep the external communication to a minimum to keep things under control but not more than that.