Home Office? Yahoo says “No”

by Bernd on March 11, 2013 · 0 comments

Home Office

It’s not every day that you get to go back to school. That day seems to have returned for employees of Yahoo, having been told last week that their days of working from the home office are numbered. In a letter leaked by Yahoo employees, head of HR Jackie Reses states that all employees are required to work in the office from June. Considered to be another restructuring change by newly appointed CEO Marissa Mayer, the changes have led to differing opinions on the freedom and working responsibilities of employees. However, with BestBuy following the trend on Monday, why has this attitude change arisen?

Marissa Mayer - Source: TechCrunch

Marissa Mayer – Source: TechCrunch

The memo, which first came to light via All Things D, shows Reses wanting “everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum.” However, contrary to Mayer’s belief that “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home;” a recent survey by SurveyMonkey shows that a fairly even 51% of interviewees work more hours when outside the office. While she is correct that many insights and ideas “are only possible in our offices,” when was the last time a whole conversation wasn’t followed by the words “can you send that in an e-mail to me?”

I thought Mayer worked for Google?

Not anymore, but you are correct. The appointment of the experienced former Google Vice-President is to help make sure Yahoo will not need more than 5 CEO’s in the space of 4 years. Understandably, the workforce will be feeling demoralized. Yahoo are certainly attempting to become more employee friendly with some of their newly introduced reward schemes, but will completely re-shaping working routines be a knockout punch?

Why the Home Office?

home office

Source: Wikipedia

Where you want to work is your choice. The home office does have some powerful positives however. For those in the big city, the feeling of waking up without a 2 hour commute in each direction is a nice thought; that’s without even considering the environmental or financial impact. Then there is the flexibility aspect. It provides freedom for the individual and their families; vacations days do not need to be taken when a child is sick, and you can still work on the project so it doesn’t fall behind schedule. Automattic have 130 of their 150 employees outside of the main San Francisco office; they say “we care about the work you produce, not just the hours you put in.” Then we diverge into a large scale social problem: the glass ceiling for women. Whilst women make up a vast majority of stay-at-home parents, removing the home office will create an epidemic. These women will distance from their careers, from their professions, and will find it more difficult to approach the career ladder once more, with time continually against them. Worst of all, these industries and companies will lose capable employees, their ideas and their valuable, intangible knowledge. All of which were ironically orchestrated by Marissa Mayer, who worked from a home office after the birth of her first child.

The Domino Effect

First it was Yahoo, now BestBuy have followed. Their Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) of 2005 has now been disbanded, and all corporate employees will work a 40 hour office based week. Spokesman Matt Furman stated that BestBuy is an “all hands on deck company” and that employees need to be “in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.” As with Yahoo, Erin Kelly of the University of Minnesota says BestBuy are “unfairly scapegoating flexible work programs” for the subpar performance of the companies. With an increase from 34% to 63% of companies allowing some hours to be completed in the home office between the years of 2005 and 2010, why have these 2 major corporations decided to buck the trend?

Amongst the many critical voices of Yahoo’s policy change is that of entrepreneurial royalty, Richard Branson. In his own release, he said employees need to be trusted to “get their work done wherever they are, without supervision… Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”

Our next article will contain tips and advice to make sure you can prove your worth to others, while working from home, and how you can manage your work-life balance even more.

“Working life isn’t 9-5 anymore”Richard Branson

Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Has a liberty been taken from these employees? Do you work from a home office? Let us know below!

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