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. So, 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.