A Yahoo move: CEO puts kibosh on working from home

  • Article by: RUTH MARCUS , Washington Post
  • Updated: February 26, 2013 - 5:43 PM

How ironic that a technology company, dedicated to enabling connectivity, would enforce such a retrograde, back-to-the-assembly-line edict.

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dorkeemnFeb. 26, 13 5:28 PM

Let's be real clear - the ban is aimed at the workers who are remotely located 100% or close to 100% of the time. It's not aimed at the person who works from home one or two days a month because a contractor is coming, but you are correct it is telling those individuals to watch how often they do it and don't abuse the policy. Which is all fine and good - the company has the right to do that. Years ago (in the 80's) working from home wasn't an option. It was comp time, paid time off or sick days. Period. If you were out of PTO or Sick days and you didn't get comp time or couldn't make up hours you took unpaid leave. We survived.

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regionguyFeb. 26, 13 7:14 PM

In-person, face-to-face teamwork has been steadily devalued over the last decade or so. I have often (though not always) found that people who on an ongoing basis work primarily from home are not as available and productive as they think they are; in fact, I have seen that first-hand in Silicon Valley. It can also be a real barrier to forming a team. I wonder if in this case it is part of an overall attempt to batten down the hatches and make it clear how big a fight Yahoo has in its marketplace.

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FrankLFeb. 26, 13 8:37 PM

This CEO is just acknowledging the fact that humans work better together face-to-face. Videoconferencing is still no where near as effective as having people in the same room. Plus, most of the important decisions are not made in a conference room, but in the hallway outside.

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rms316Feb. 27, 13 6:36 AM

Face to face human contact is still the best. But, given the need for flexibility, I think it's a step backward. This CEO has kids but I'm sure they are either nannied, or somebody else takes care of the kids most of the time. Most workers can't afford to do the same.

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pumiceFeb. 27, 13 7:12 AM

Re: "This CEO has kids but I'm sure they are either nannied, or somebody else takes care of the kids most of the time. Most workers can't afford to do the same." From the article: "The Yahoo chief brought her family to work. Literally. [She] used her own money to build a nursery next to her office." The article suggests that the solution is not "scalable", but if Yahoo provided in-house day care, workers who can't afford to build a nursery next to their office would have an important benefit. One which is provided in most developed nations, by the way.

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c0546bnFeb. 27, 13 8:30 AM

Ah, yes, "Working" from home. I remember it well when I was a contract computer programer for a large bank in Mnpls. I always made the commute in order to get work done. The problem was I ended up doing other peoples' work when they were working from home and fell behind on their part of my project. How well I remember the time when I called one of them "at home." She had her home phone forwarded to her cell. I wasn't supposed to know the difference except it didn't sound like a land line connection and I could hear some noise in the background. "Where are you?" I would ask. "Well, right now I'm at Target." This is just one example of many. Yep... "Working" from home!

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beebee82Feb. 27, 13 9:02 AM

If "face time" in the office means more three-hour meetings discussing procedural matters (such as the snore-fests I'm regularly treated to in my industry), Yahoo isn't going to exactly reinvent itself with this move. "Face time" in too many industries is championed by mid to upper-level management who need to fill their days with meetings after meetings where the people who actually do the work are pulling their hair out in frustration because of these time-sucks.

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olson123456Feb. 27, 1311:00 AM

I completely agree with beebee82. I see the same things day-in and day-out. My only addition would be that most of the mid-level and upper-level management types are busy brown-nosing and otherwise self-promoting while many of their direct reports are relegated to the cube farm try to keep the wheels on.

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jomdalyFeb. 27, 13 3:22 PM

Nobody likes it when they have to go back to work. I agree with her! I have been on conference calls with at home workers and have had to listen to toddlers fighting, babies crying, and even a toilet flush. Once, I could have sworn I heard bar noises. Working from home is an entitlement that should be given only to those who would have no distractions during the course of the work day.

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mermistMar. 6, 13 6:23 AM

I've had several employees leave for jobs where they could work from home. Without exception they were my most frustrating employees. They were the first to complain that they were being treated unfairly, rarely considered the consequences of their actions, and they always had ideas that they wanted to implement without being willing to listen to others ideas. Arguments for working at home make me chuckle and shake my head because the majority would abuse it. I've taken plenty of conference calls while emptying a dishwasher & folding laundry, but I don't rate that as being more productive because doing my laundry isn't part of the job offer I signed. When you agree to a job you do it on your employers terms, if those terms become something you do not like or your views on the terms change then find other work. Those ex-employees made that very choice to leave. I'm in contact with them, a couple are happy, a few are still frustrated that they have to compromise too much.

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