Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Bans Working From Home

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By now you’ve probably heard the latest news from the water cooler: Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has announced that employees will no longer be permitted to work remotely.

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” read the memo from HR director Jackie Reses, and reprinted on allthingsd.com. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Critics say the policy change is a major blow to moms, many of whom rely on the flexibility of working from home to balance career and family.

“What others see as the future of the workplace, and what parents see as a most important tool for juggling home and work, Marissa Mayer apparently sees as disposable,” wrote Lisa Belkin on The Huffington Post.

The decision might be easier to swallow if Mayer herself was faced with the difficult prospect of working full-time in office while leaving her baby son at home.  But the CEO – who gave birth to her first child last fall – paid to have a nursery built in her office.

“I wonder what would happen if my wife brought our kids and nanny to work and set em up in the cube next door?,” said the husband of one Yahoo employee who currently works remotely.

However, not everyone objects to the new rules.  A former Yahoo engineer shared some reasons for the policy change with Business Insider:

“There’s a ton of abuse of that at Yahoo. Something specific to the company.” The source said that having a large remote workforce led to “people slacking off like crazy, not being available, spending a lot of time on non-Yahoo! projects.”

Another former Yahoo executive, Michael Katz, also supported Mayer’s decision. “Working from home may be convenient for some but it represents a huge opportunity cost to the team, especially a team that’s trying to turn things around.”

He added, “The value in human interaction is greater collective wisdom as a result of improved communication and collaboration.”

What do you think? Are you able to work as productively from home – even with all the distractions of kids underfoot? Or do you think that the flexibility actually makes you a better employee than if you were punching a clock in a cubicle? Would you be less likely to take a job where your presence in the office was 100% mandatory?

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