Articles by: billdenyer | Visit Website

The Whoopdeedoo* About Yahoo’s Recalling Their Work-at-home Workforce

The Whoopdeedoo* About Yahoo’s Recalling Their Work-at-home Workforce

“Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! Offices…“Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it’s about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.” (AllThingsD.com)

It’s now been over a week since Yahoo’s head of Human Resources, Jackie Reses, communicated the message from Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO that has had far reaching impact on the business world, especially with those who work from home, or business leaders who support that type of workforce.

Commentary has ranged from strong support, to derision to what some have called a step back from the growing changes in how organizations get their work done. Ellen Galinsky of the DailyBeast writes, “They are going against process on this decision as the U.S. economy moves into the 21st global economy. According to Families and Work Institute’s 2012 National Study of Employers, 63 percent of employers now allow at least some of their employees to work part of their regularly paid hours at home on an occasional basis, up from 34 percent in 2005.”

Mayer responded to critics in a statement to Huffington Post, “…don’t project your office culture issues on our company…This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home — this is about what is right for Yahoo!, right now.” CBS News analyst, Melanie Hobson also attributed the following to Mayer: “You can’t build a culture by email.”

Richard Branson, head of Virgin Enterprises, adds, “It was perplexing to see Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer tell employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities. This seems a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever.”

Others have praised Mayer’s decision as she’s been charged about rebuilding the Yahoo brand. Rocco Pendola, reporting on The Street : “Do you really think Mayer did not…communicate with the A-players (or at least their managers) ahead of making this move? She’s using this ‘edict’ to further streamline a bloated, self-entitled and largely ineffective segment of the workforce.” (http://www.thestreet.com)

I was really struck by the statement: “What’s really troubling about this is that a technology company can’t figure out how to collaborate remotely,” Kate Lister, president of the Telework Research Center, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

A different perspective

At the core of this decision and the surrounding brouhaha are critically important facts easily overlooked in discussing how work gets done.

  • Being present at a job location does not necessarily equal work being done
  • Working in the presence of others does not naturally bring about collaboration
  • Collaboration, in person or virtually is a product of enlightened management
  • Motivated employees are those who know what’s needed to be done, have a investment as to how it’s done, and receive recognition for production, not for just “showing up”

To close, another quote from Richard Branson, “If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.”

It will be interesting to see where this controversy and discussion goes. Will it soon be forgotten, and Yahoo’s future be positive because of it, or will Yahoo continue it’s downward spiral into becoming a second class site – all because of or in spite of the loss of talent due to the ending of the WAH program? What do you think?

BTW. What the heck is a Whoopdeedoo? According to Dictionary.com, it’s a Heated discussion or debate, especially in public.  So let’s discuss and debate this. Comments welcome.