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Will Yahoo's Recent Layoffs Mean Long Commutes For Remaining Workers?

Yahoo announced another round of layoffs yesterday; here's what may be in store for those that remain on staff.

[Photo: Mike Pont/Getty Images]

Yesterday, employees from Yahoo’s media unit in California and New York were let go, as the company shuttered digital "magazines" Yahoo Food, Yahoo Auto, Yahoo Makers, Yahoo Real Estate, Yahoo Health, and Yahoo Parenting. The Tech channel will be folding into the larger News site, so former New York Times writer David Pogue is still with the company, as is Katie Couric.

According to the Wall Street Journal, those California workers who kept their jobs this week were asked to report to Yahoo’s office in Playa Vista, more than an hour drive from their current office in Burbank.

That would put them among the ranks of workers with the longest commutes in the nation. Fast Company recently reported that while American workers are stuck for an average of 40 hours a year in traffic on their way to and from the office, 87% of human resources leaders say that staff working periodically from home boosted employee satisfaction so much that nearly seven out of 10 hiring managers use flex-time programs as a recruiting and retention tool, according to Workplace Trends and CareerArc.

However, Mayer famously ended Yahoo’s work from home policy in 2013. But Yahoo’s senior communications manager Carolyn Clark says that "we do not have a hard and fast policy," regarding working remotely. While she declined to comment on specific employee situations regarding Burbank and Playa Vista, Clark repeated one of Mayer’s initial arguments for having staff in one place. "We believe that creativity and collaboration are fostered by people interacting together in an office," Clark tells Fast Company.

Yahoo is struggling and after its latest quarterly results, the company is rolling out a number of changes, including spinning off its consumer websites and ad business, among other tactics as prioritized on chief Marissa Mayer’s "Invest/Maintain/Kill" list.

According to Re/code, the "kill" list could include international assets and lower-performing media sites and may result in cutting as much as 15% of existing staff. But rather than one massive layoff, Re/code noted that Yahoo is making cuts regularly on Wednesdays.

Last week Yahoo eliminated 107 positions, mostly in engineering, in its Sunnyvale, California office, according to a report in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, which also put the number of this Wednesday’s layoffs at more than 300 in California and an unspecified number in New York.

Yahoo’s human resource department is reportedly making a coordinated effort on a global scale to tell each person individually that they are being let go.

So far, Mayer has brought the staff total down to about 10,700 employees, down from around 14,000 before she started in 2012. In 2015, Mayer cut 1,800 positions in China, India, and Canada and announced plans to close Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Milan offices this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. All the layoffs should be complete by March.

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