Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo is taking some heat for declaring that employees can no longer work from home starting in June of 2013.

The argument is that she is going against the trend of encouraging employees to work from home or to work remotely. According the U.S. Census, the number of people who work at home has been steadily increasing:

  • In 2010, 9.5% of the U.S. workforce worked from home at least one day a week.
  • About 25% of those workers were in management, business or finance.
  • People who work at home usually work the same hours as those in an office.
  • Boulder, Colo., has the highest percentage of people working from home most of the week: 10.9%.

More companies and even the U.S. government is encouraging telecommuting to cut down on commute times and decrease traffic congestion. It also requires less space at offices and allows employees work flexible hours.

The skeptics fear that Mayer will attract employees that are only good at watching the clock instead of employees that are loyal to the company and passionate about the cause. I have a different take. I think what she is doing is right for Yahoo, at this time. I am sure as a new mother in a high-demand position, this was a tough decision to make, but it is what is needed for the company—its what’s needed to give Yahoo a fighting chance. Yes it probably will cause even more employees to start searching for another job, but again Yahoo hasn’t been the most successful company in the last couple of years.

Yahoo has reached a pivotal point where it has to change, NOW—there are no other options. Part of that change includes weeding out the employees that are no longer a good fit for Yahoo moving forward. This decision has the potential to foster collaboration, increase communication, inspire creativity, get Yahoo out of the slump it has been in, realign values, and increase employee loyalty just to name a few. She is in essence, hitting the “Yahoo company culture” restart button.

Is Yahoo the first company to go through this? No, but it has the misfortune of going through it publically because they have been struggling for so long and because some have attached the unfounded prejudice of whether Yahoo can survive because it has a woman as a CEO.

In order for the flexibility of the workplace to make sense, it has to be effective for both the employer and the employee and right now, there is no value to Yahoo. Overall, companies have found that working from home full time doesn’t work as well as working at least one or two days a week in the office. That seems to be enough to maintain relationships within the company and with the company itself.

 

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