There is a lot of passionate debate in the blogosphere about YAHOO CEO Marissa Mayer’s decree to require all YAHOO employees to work in the office and not remotely (from home). These are from voices I respect.
But I also believe that Marissa Mayer had to make a very difficult decision that is for the best of a struggling company. If she hopes to make YAHOO successful, thriving, and financially rewarding for the employees, she has to make changes. And I don’t think she made this decision lightly, but I do think she put the company’s goals ahead of the comfort of the employees.
And yes, that sucks. It isn’t fun to work for someone that cares more about their own bottom line than your comfort. But I also imagine that the paychecks people will earn from working in the YAHOO offices will make up for that inconvenience.
Here is the thing: while there are self-motivated, type-a personalities that can accomplish lengthy projects and tasks at home, that number is not the majority. Most people succeed with accountability in a social environment. I speak from experience! While I have accomplished crazy amounts of social media campaigns here at home, and was grateful for the chance to work in between nursing my newborn at home, I accomplished more when I was away from home. I just got a new job and will be working at their office. I cannot personally give the same kind of focus here at home, breaking up fights, cleaning up messes, that I can when 100% of my attention is with my co-workers and manager.
However – I really do hope that Marissa Mayer gives flexibility to mothers. Morale is also an important factor in productivity. That is why some work at home professionals accomplish so much. So to keep morale higher, I think she needs to give an ample amount of sick days, or allow some telecommuting when necessary.
This is not an all or nothing argument. I think she made a very unpopular decision that was financially beneficial to YAHOO. And while I believe working as a team in one location will increase productivity, uniformity of vision and goals and eventually success for the company, I also believe flexibility should be a factor.
And that is why I support less telecommuting for YAHOO. It just had to happen!
Edited to add: Many have asked me about studies to back up my point of view. A quick Google search leads to studies that sugest telecommuting increases productivity. However, there is one element that I was stuck on: the communication and cohesion of everyone in the offices. I agree with the Forbes article. It cited a study out of University of Massachusetts-Amherst that basically found that the farther someone is from others, the easier it is for them to lie or exaggerate. I am still searching for this study so I can read it for myself instead of relying on Forbes’ interpretation of it, but the finding seems logically sound.