Not only did Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo! turn mothering into competitive sports when she announced couple months back that she is taking two weeks of maternity leave so she can return into full capacity at Yahoo! but she has become a pain in the behind for us working mothers as a group. We all know that Marissa Meyer is not focused on being a role model, but what we didn’t know until now is that she is focused on taking Yahoo! back about three or four decades back while setting the precedent for other CEOs to rethink workers who work from home either full or part-time. A policy that is starting in June for all Yahoo! employees will ban working from home.
Her argument is that:
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home…we need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
Matter-of-factly, here is the full memo:
YAHOO! PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION — DO NOT FORWARD
Over the past few months, we have introduced a number of great benefits and tools to make us more productive, efficient and fun. With the introduction of initiatives like FYI, Goals and PB&J, we want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum. From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices.
To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. 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.
Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.
Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.
This type of blanket approach is disastrous. Certainly, there are some jobs that cannot be done from home, for example, most of my job as an engineer includes going out to the field and physically inspecting and measuring things. However, I still have the option to work from home occassionally if need be. For example, my daughter’s school is taking March 15 off for Staff Development, so I plan on working from home that day since I will have to stay home to watch her. Some will wonder why I cannot get a babysitter but that is an extra cost that I will have to incur when I can just give her set of lessons to work on while I get my job done as well. However some jobs such as software, publishing, etc., really could be location independent and most companies are moving towards paying employees to work from home. It’s not only cheaper for them, it’s smarter.
Gone are the days when you have to physically be in the office to get anything done. With advancement in technology – cable, internet, printer, telephone, webinar, video conferencing at our disposal at home – one could easily get so much done in an eight hour workday. To say that she went old-school is an understatement, she went stone-age. Mayer needs some deep-rooted intervention. If this is coming from the fact that she somehow finds motherhood overbearing at home and wonders how anyone could work from home, then she is right. Raising an infant is hardwork and mothers who have been able to do that working from home are the true superheroes.
My problem with this approach is that it completely invalidates all working mothers who have been able to balance household duties while retaining their careers working from home. She completely threw us all under the bus claiming that quality suffers? I beg her pardon, I have seen people work harder, and faster at home by eliminating the wake-up-get-ready + jump-in-the-car + get-stuck-in-traffic + distractions-at-work crap while producing high quality services and products. Marissa Meyer has a boat-load full of house-helps and of course can afford a nanny, driver, butler, chef, etc…, so it’s no surprise she has enough time to sit in the office trying to come up with a plan to ban employees from working from home. She did not consider the mother like me who will need to work from home because I cannot afford a sitter to watch my daughter on days when her Pre-School schedules a Staff Development.
So, goodbye Yahoo! as I will not be logging on your website anymore. And I will be boycotting the website for as long as this craziness continues.