She’s only mostly right

When Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!’s CEO, announced that there would be no more working from home for her minions, there was a collective “WTF are you thinking?” primarily emanating from the Silicon Valley.

And, I’ll admit, at first I led that cheer. But, after carefully thinking about it some more (i.e., having someone smarter tell me why I was wrong), I changed my mind. Yes, people you should get your butts off the sofa and into the office!*
(note that little star like asterisk thingie)…

See, Yahoo!’s a mess. Their culture used to be the envy of the Silicon Valley, if not the world. I had many a friend who worked there in the day and loved it. I also had many a friend who worked there just after the day and hated it.

Full disclosure: While I never worked at Yahoo! I did interview there way back when and they told me thanks but no thanks. No grudges here. I had some pretty good gigs after that experience and well, shit happens for a reason.

Full disclosure part 2: You all know I like food.  I have had quite a few meals in their corporate cafe while visiting friends over the years. And, while I will do a lot for a cookie, I can’t be bought off by a good meal.

So anyway, Marissa is right in this case. She was brought in to “fix it”. To shake things up. To right the ship. To keep Yahoo! from fading into oblivion.

So far it doesn’t seem like she’s done much. But, this is a pretty bold move as many believe flexible work hours and working from alternative locations are the new thing. I’ve already written about the perceptions of people who work from home as well as how it increases productivity. Go ahead and read them if you haven’t already; I’ll wait…

Back now? Excellent.

I for one am a huge fan of working from home as it greatly increases my productivity. But, as I’ve mentioned, it’s not for everyone. What I gather from Yahoo! insiders and former insiders they have a LOT of people who would flake off and claim to be working from home, but were more often than not just taking a pseudo day off and could rarely be reached when people tried to interact with them.

Mayer’s decision to force people back into the cube or pack up and move on to a new gig is gutsy and bold. Some say it will backfire and people will bail. However, I say, maybe that’s part of her strategy. Maybe this is one of the ways of pushing out the deadwood.

Or, maybe she just read this Dilbert cartoon from a couple of weeks ago, saw inspiration in it and a new corporate HR strategy was born. Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 9.24.55 PMSo, while I think Mayer’s decision is right she’s only mostly right (said in the voice of Miracle Max…don’t know him? We can’t be friends.).  Yes, the decision seems to be right for Yahoo! – after all there’s unfortunately not much to lose. But, when it comes to me, and this is where that * comes into play, I’m going to keep pushing for at least one work from home day a week.

Given what I put up with relative to Cubicle George, I should push for 4+ days a week.

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About CubicleViews

Observations, thoughts & random bitching about cube life, food, beer, wine, whiskey and sometimes politics. Living the dream in a 6×8 doorless polyester walled cell.
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10 Responses to She’s only mostly right

  1. She might have been right about bringing employees back to the workplace, but she is very wrong about the changes made to the Yahoo page. I used to enjoy reading their news, now I get a headache from all the flashing ads and the bright colors. Maybe they are trying to attract a younger crowd, but they are going to lose a lot of long time users. I am seriously thinking of changing my e mail address so I don’t have to ever go to their page. I hate it that much.

    • CubicleViews says:

      So so true. And, they lost me a bit a go from that home/news page for that very reason. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any that I like so it’s straight up Google for news for me. I’d love to find a good non-cluttered/add filled aggregator.

  2. Tricia says:

    I am a former Yahoo – and one that was there “after the day” (End of my tenure chronicled: http://www.streamdoubletrouble.com/2011/01/25/farewell-to-arms/)

    I agree with your points; I think Mayer’s decree was the right move for that singular company (not the industry as a whole) but a PR nightmare. Yahoo’s culture has taken serious hits in the past years. Morale is low. People are afraid to take risks for fear of more layoffs. Other’s may want to “hide” – out of sight, out of mind.

    There will still be remote workers. Not all of the company itself is based in a single location, so even in the office there will be remote communication. I see this as a move to literally attempt to bring the company back together. Fix what is broke and slowly become more flexible – like a well-worn glove that starts stiff until its broken in just right.

  3. Their attempt to rebrand their landing pages was…not good. They obviously wanted to make a slicker, “cooler” homepage, but the truth is, they don’t know they’re demographic. This site may attract a younger crowd, but what young people even know what Yahoo is? I will say that I liked their old mobile website (I read a lot of news on my phone) but the new layout is terrible. I’ve just stopped going there altogether.

    I have a different theory as to why Marissa made this work from home mandate. Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t think she’s as out of touch as everyone is claiming she is. I think she’s trying to get rid of dead weight. By bringing people in and together, it’ll help each team flush out who sucks and who doesn’t. It will also help bring a little cohesiveness back to Yahoo which I think it has been missing for some time. The note was sent from HR which sends the message, “Comply and carry your weight or get out.” My two cents anyway.

  4. lablover22 says:

    Oh man, talk about a pot stirring topic… I have to say, though, that I agree with your thoughts. It was necessary. If you want to end the status quo that is not working, you have to, well, end that status quo that’s not working. That means making changes- gasp! We’ll see how it turns out. Personally, applaud her for doing it. I find it interesting, though, that if a man had instituted this new policy there would be gnashing of teeth, wailing and probably some robe tearing. The outcry of “you don’t understand because you have a penis!” would be heard ’round the world. But when a woman makes the change was there an outpouring of support or at least a bit of, “Well, she at least understands the strain this will put on some of us”? No, all I’ve heard over and over is how she went back to work 2 weeks after giving birth. So she was criticized for not being a man and for not being enough of a woman, either.
    Vicky

    • CubicleViews says:

      Funny thing is from what I understand the new Mommy has a nursery next to her office making it really easy for her, which is great, but does Y! have child care for anyone else…doubt it.

      Anyway, I do think it was probably a good thing to implement given their situation.

      P.S. I being the owner of a penis am the first to admit that I don’t understand anything.

  5. Pingback: The Weekly TPS Report – Mar 1 | The Cubicle Views

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