Marissa Meyer, Yahoo! CEO Bans Working From Home

Blessing Oshin February 24, 2013 9



Yahoo-CEO-Marissa-Mayer-Buys-2M-worth-of-iPhones-for-Employees

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

Yahoos,

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.

What’s your take? Do you believe in working from home?



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9 Comments »

  1. RENEE February 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    By instituting this old work policy, Ms. Meyer has shown a lack of understanding and consideration for working mothers everywhere. She may be out of touch with her peers, which can happen when certain types of people earn a very high income that allows them to hire others to do their work for them. I doubt that she will be forced to leave her new baby at an over-priced local daycare each morning before work, run to pick her child up each evening, and complete all the other duties working moms must fulfill each day and evening before bedtime. She is a woman who appears to be well-cared for. I understand that when I work at home, I get far more accomplished than when I’m at work! I don’t want to stand in the cafeteria and gossip to my co-workers….? I’m with you, Blessing.

    • Blessing Oshin February 25, 2013 at 4:20 am - Reply

      Renee, You are absolutely right! Her lack of consideration for the ‘regular’ working parents and individuals whom the company promised flexible work arrangement is what bothers me the most. Such a generalized approach to flexible work arrangement is a show of bad leadership on her side.
      Blessing Oshin recently posted..Marissa Meyer, Yahoo! CEO Bans Working From HomeMy Profile

  2. Jenny B February 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I think you’re absolutely right, the part that bothers me is that she is putting forth an assumption that those of us who work from home aren’t getting as much done. This was 100% inaccurate for me when I worked from home for 2 years also, I found that just going to the bathroom took 3 times as long in the office as it did when I worked from home.

    At home: door to the bathroom is next to home office, do my business, sit right back down in front of computer.
    At the office: lock computer, walk 5 minutes down the hall, talk to 2-3 people, pee, walk 5 minutes back. Same with grabbing lunch or anything else, much longer time spent away from work at the office. Not sure if that’s how it is for everyone, but I’d bet it’s pretty accurate.
    Jenny B recently posted..Sponsors and new ad spaces open!My Profile

    • Blessing Oshin February 25, 2013 at 4:23 am - Reply

      Jenny, what you just described is what everyone whom I have talked to about this ridiculous generalized policy mentioned as well. Most people who work from home actually get more done because they feel like their work must speak for itself since they are not physically present in the office. Now, this doesn’t work for all job description but I guarantee you that 50%+ of jobs in this day and age can be done from the comfort of our homes. We would save so much money, energy and resources and still get the job done.
      Blessing Oshin recently posted..Marissa Meyer, Yahoo! CEO Bans Working From HomeMy Profile

  3. Portia February 25, 2013 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Yes, Blessing! I am completely gobsmacked by this decision. But not entirely surprised. Marissa Mayer has never claimed to be a champion for women (and don’t we all know that so many female executives aren’t). I don’t think I could have said it any better than you have already. I work from home once a week and it is by far one of my most productive days because I have concentrated work time (oh, and I have a 45 minute commute to work each way). I think what bothers me most about this decision is the privilege she enjoys that allows her to make this decree without considering the needs of her employees. I truly hope she can turn Yahoo around but with decision making like this, I’m skeptical she is creating the “One Yahoo” culture she’s trying to create.
    Portia recently posted..5 Strategies to Keep Your Kid off the Restaurant Black ListMy Profile

  4. Leah Root February 27, 2013 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home for many years – as an IT professional web developer, no less. I was a single mom for much of that time, so I am very very grateful for being able to work at home. I was able to participate in my son’s life and childhood – you know, actually raise him, watch him grow up, and help him out.

    So I don’t even know where to begin about Mayer’s callousness, lack of empathy, and hypocrisy without going all tl;dnr.

    I’ll say this: Mayer is heartless and an insult to women. Her children will come back to harass her and bite her in the rear, just like the spammy crappy platform she’s ‘in charge of’ – Yahoo.

  5. Jaybird June 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Let’s get this straight… Marissa Mayer is NOT a mother… She is a CEO that took 2 weeks off to ‘pop a kid’. Sorry for the crassness, but I think it is appropriate here. It was ridiculous for Yahoo to have a pregnant woman fill in as the new CEO position in the first place, and even more selfish and absurd of Ms. Mayer to go for it. I personally think it’s disgusting, and feel sorry for her child. I will be making the leap from my bigtime job/career so that I can stay home to raise my children as a MOTHER… because my kids come first. It will take a lot of sacrifice, but I believe it’s the right thing to do. I am so sickened by how many women today think they can do it all all all the time. Mayer should not have had children.

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