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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
No more telecommuting for Yahoo workers effective this summer

Working from home is definitely not for everyone. For many people, working from home means more distractions and less productivity. For others, it means the ability to work your own hours and while still being an efficient employee. Yahoo has had a number of workers who work exclusively from home and CEO Marissa Mayer doesn't like that.

It surfaced late last week that Yahoo had told hundreds of workers that currently have work from home agreements in place that they have two options. One of those options is to stop working from home and begin coming into a Yahoo office effective in June. The other option for these work from home employees is to quit.

An e-mail marked proprietary and confidential has surfaced from Yahoo that says speed and quality are sacrificed when people work from home.

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together," the memo reads.

It remains unclear what exactly will happen to some of Yahoo's remote workers who don't live near a Yahoo office. AllThingsD reports that Yahoo staffers have written in complaining that they were initially hired under the assumption that they would be able to work remotely with more flexibility. Yahoo has now changed and has given these workers an ultimatum to come to the office or work somewhere else. Yahoo has offered no official comment on the move at this time.

Mayer recently said that the search deal with it and Bing was underperforming and it appears that she is doing everything possible to improve Yahoo's performance.

Sources: Business Insider, AllThingsD



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Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By AntiM on 2/25/2013 8:39:35 AM , Rating: 5
Working remotely has its advantages and disadvantages, both to the worker and the company. In this day in age, I think a person could work from Antarctica and still contribute productively, depending on what they do. I know plenty of people that are much more productive from home, considering the fact that there are plenty of distractions when at work.

Her arguments seem weak to me; seems like a layoff, without having to announce layoffs.




RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By steven975 on 2/25/2013 9:06:17 AM , Rating: 4
It goes both ways.

If one is doing an operational/maintenance role, working at home can definitely work.

When Yahoo needs to make things that are cutting-edge and require ideas and real collaboration...it doesn't.

And something tells me Yahoo is filled with under-performers working at home.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By Flunk on 2/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By Reclaimer77 on 2/25/2013 9:13:01 AM , Rating: 3
Yup. Every telecommuter I know spends a significant portion of the day on personal tasks or just goofing off. It's human nature. If nobody is there to "crack the whip", you're going to get by on doing just enough work to, well, get by.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By Makaveli on 2/25/2013 9:22:07 AM , Rating: 5
lol there are people in the office that only do just enough to get by I don't see what the difference is when doing it at home.

It sounds like they just want to lay people off without making a big deal about it.


By Reclaimer77 on 2/25/2013 9:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
lol there are people in the office that only do just enough to get by I don't see what the difference is when doing it at home.


Hey, no argument here.


By woody1 on 2/25/2013 11:13:24 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. It's just as easy to procrastinate in the office as it is when telecommuting. You can always find somebody to talk to about unproductive things. Also, when you attend meetings in person, it's harder to multitask. When teleconferencing, you can sometimes get work done while people are prattling on.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By chmilz on 2/25/2013 10:41:04 AM , Rating: 5
Home office guy here. I'm the top sales guy in my company, with the most growth year after year, selling at the highest profit. My peers who chose to be based out of an office average 1/4 of my total sales, and make far less profit.

Why? They are micromanaged. They spend considerable time doing BS reporting to satisfy the boss who's up to his ears in paperwork 10ft away.

Do I goof off? You bet your ass I do (this post is a case in point). What I can tell you though is that I get a lot more done here than I did at the office since I don't have a constant stream of people coming by to chit-chat and waste my time.

Also, lunch is SOOOOOOO much better at home. It's not easy to toast a fresh sandwich while french pressing your favorite roast at the office...


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By Reclaimer77 on 2/25/2013 11:15:22 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah but you're in sales. Way different than the average IT telecommute. You're motivated. If you don't sell (I'm assuming) you don't get paid (as much). You're obviously a very driven individual.

quote:
Why? They are micromanaged. They spend considerable time doing BS reporting to satisfy the boss who's up to his ears in paperwork 10ft away.


Exactly. I think it's a great thing that people can flourish in their comfort zones, as you have, due to technology.

I hope nobody thought I meant all telecommuters are slackers lol. Just the ones I know :)


By chmilz on 2/25/2013 11:31:48 AM , Rating: 4
I'm willing to bet that a lot of people offer the same productivity either way. The only difference is how the time is wasted. At the office you get nagged by 82 different people and get no work done. At home you screw the pooch and vacuum the house. No real difference if you only manage 40 minutes of honest work.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By Falacer on 2/25/2013 12:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
While not in a corporate environment my mom has worked from home for over 20 years now doing Medical billing. It allows her the freedom to schedule meetings, pickups & etc. with the doctor's that best suits her busy life.

Prior to working strictly from home; she did the same thing for a small local company that gave it's employee's the option to work from home. However they still had to come into the office one day per work.

I agree with other posters this sounds like an attempt to lay off some staff without having to use the term.


By Falacer on 2/25/2013 12:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
Oops typo... meant to say one day per week.


By jdietz on 2/25/2013 10:02:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a lazy procrastinator. I wrote an Excel macro to do data analysis work (that I used to do) solely because I'm lazy. Though I work at the office most days (and from home when I'm sick), it doesn't preclude me from being lazy.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By jimbojimbo on 2/25/2013 11:42:17 AM , Rating: 3
There must be a lot of telecommuters reading these comments.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By xti on 2/25/2013 10:35:50 AM , Rating: 1
every major company allows remote work - it cuts down tremendously on real estate space/costs at offices, cube rotations (even though they kinda suck) becomes possible...

It sounds like their middle management is weak otherwise, this would never be an issue because of said cost savings they are foregoing - which just means the company is losing control of its own.

every other large corp seems to handle it just fine.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By tng on 2/25/2013 3:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It sounds like their middle management is weak
Maybe, but she does have valid points. I have noticed that most of the good ideas in our company occur when people get together as a group and just throw ideas out. These are never organized, planned meetings, just something that starts as a discussion over a cubicle wall or a couple of engineers talking at lunch.

I have also witnessed when input should be gathered from someone who is working from home, they are often excluded from the discussion, since nobody thinks to call them.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By xti on 2/26/2013 11:32:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have also witnessed when input should be gathered from someone who is working from home, they are often excluded from the discussion, since nobody thinks to call them.


that is neither here nor there. if someone is a stakeholder in a meeting about X topic, a meeting invite should always include all people, a dial-in, and most of the time a webinar style connection (live meeting, etc).

And those it reaches can always forward to whom they think should be involved.

thats a simple concept anyone at a large corp should have tattoo'd in their brain from day 1.


By tng on 2/26/2013 3:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if someone is a stakeholder in a meeting about X topic, a meeting invite should always include all people
That is the problem, allot of meetings where I work are just brainstorming sessions (not an official meeting) there are often impromptu discussions about Customer X solution or Customer Y sale and it is surprising how many issues get solved this way. Unfortunately if you are out of the office (I am gone at least 50%) you are SOL as far as input on the topic.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By cyberguyz on 2/25/2013 10:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
+1 to the advantages and disadvantages.

Pluses:
+ Don't have to face a 1+hr one-way daily commute.
+ Save a ton of money on gas/vehicle wear & tear.
+ Don't have to pack lunches or buy at the local "choke & puke" near the office.
+ Less people milling around my office so I can focus (see the other side of this coin below).
+You can be a slob and work in your jammies/skin if you want (as long as you don't do any video conferencing).

Minuses:
- Since all business meetings take place using your personal phone, it is unavailable to family members use.
- If you have small kids milling about the home can be a bigger distraction than co-workers.
- You often end up putting a LOT more time into your work -- often I pull 10-12 hour days when working at home whereas I can work a more 'normal 9-10 hrs if I go into the office. Burn-out is a big danger of working@home.
- No face time with your co-workers or employees.
- You really need a room your can disappear into for this to work.


By Lord 666 on 2/25/2013 12:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
With the right VoIP corporate phone system, you can make an iOS/Android device a softphone and make it appear as your desk phone using VPN. The technology has been around for more than 10 years.

Like others have said, what Yahoo is doing is a silent layoff. Even in my the traditionally in-person required companies, they are now allowing telecommuting and even telemedicine.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By Motoman on 2/25/2013 11:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yahoo is going the opposite way of pretty much everybody else...several years ago, IBM bought the company I was working for, and everybody got a choice - either you're an office worker, or you're a remote worker. Office workers got offices/cubes at an office, and had to go in to work everyday. And no cell phone. Remote workers worked from home, or wherever, and got cell phones.

They really pushed people to work remotely, to be honest...the savings in dedicated office space is enormous. And really, you can interact pretty well as a member of a team with modern technology as a remote worker...definitely a case where embracing new technology gets big improvements.

Also, she is a serious CILF.


RE: Sounds like an attempt at downsizing
By zephyrprime on 2/25/2013 12:26:33 PM , Rating: 3
Would definitely hit.


By Lord 666 on 2/25/2013 1:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, this girl has much more talent all around plus a bigger bank account.

http://www.spanx.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId...


By Souka on 2/25/2013 3:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think a person could work from Antarctica and still contribute productively, depending on what they do


Yep, zactly.

For a couple seasons I worked in Antartica doing server based administration for McMurdo base... while programming for a utilities company in Seattle.

The biggest factor was missing out on the office camaraderie back in Seattle, but I got my work done on-time.

:)


By cyberguyz on 2/26/2013 8:14:30 AM , Rating: 2
My employer tried this. It didn't work. Everyone ignored him even though he was the top dog in my company.

What's he gonna do about it? Fire everyone? In my company only 1 in 5 people are not in a position that they cannot telecommute. That 4 out of 5 people do work at home at least 2 days out of a 5-day week. So what's he gonna do?

Firing even 15% of your workforce is corporate suicide.


what do they do?
By GulWestfale on 2/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: what do they do?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/25/2013 8:54:38 AM , Rating: 5
"What would you say, you DO here?"


RE: what do they do?
By Dorkyman on 2/25/2013 10:49:18 AM , Rating: 3
"I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!! "


RE: what do they do?
By Motoman on 2/25/2013 11:18:05 AM , Rating: 2
...I believe you have my stapler...


RE: what do they do?
By Spookster on 2/25/2013 1:13:34 PM , Rating: 4
The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.


Is it just me...
By S2 on 2/25/2013 10:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
Is it just me, or is Marissa Mayer kind of a cutie?




RE: Is it just me...
By woody1 on 2/25/2013 10:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
She definitely is.


RE: Is it just me...
By Denigrate on 2/25/2013 10:56:28 AM , Rating: 5
She's a hottie, and gets about a 1.5 point bump due to the massive piles of cash she has in her bank account.


RE: Is it just me...
By Lord 666 on 2/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Is it just me...
By Lord 666 on 2/26/2013 10:12:28 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, voted down for having better taste. Sorry, the yahoo CEO isn't all that


RE: Is it just me...
By rs2 on 2/25/2013 10:08:46 PM , Rating: 1
But -5 points for being a religious crazy. I mean, come on, some of the comments that she has made regarding religion are just...creepy.

There are plenty of hot ones who are *not* insane. No need to waste time with Mayer.


Weak management
By tayb on 2/25/2013 10:52:07 AM , Rating: 2
If Yahoo can't handle workers telecommuting that is a management issue. Telecommuting has major cost benefits for employers. Employees are likely to take a slightly reduced salary in exchange for not having to drive to work and they aren't at the office using up space and resources. It's a double positive as far as cost of labor goes.

It's no more difficult to be unproductive at home than it is at work. It's all about how the employees are managed. Give them projects with clear goals that are easy to measure. Make the deadlines more and more aggressive until you get push back or deadlines start being missed. Now you know what the employee is capable of and can move ahead accordingly. He/she doesn't need to physically be in the office for this.

There is such a cost benefit of telecommuting that I question the worthiness of any CEO who can't figure this out.




RE: Weak management
By FITCamaro on 2/25/2013 11:46:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah its really very simple. Give them work to do with a deadline to get it done. If they don't, fire them.

This is where Scrum methodology works so well. You only work in 2-3 week increments (generally) so you can't just put everything off to the last minute (with the last minute being months in the future).


RE: Weak management
By rs2 on 2/25/2013 10:07:26 PM , Rating: 2
Except that 'Scrum' and 'deadline' are incompatible. Scrum is about release forecasting using historical velocity data. Nothing about the methodology is geared towards helping ensure that an arbitrary deadline can be met. It's all geared towards ensuring that the forecase completion date is as accurate as possible.


RE: Weak management
By Ramstark on 2/25/2013 1:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
I don't have more points to add to you, but I think you are absolutely right.
Home Office is not for every worker, or activity, but when there is people tat can do work from home and they reduce costs, then MANAGERS should learn how to manage them.

There is nothing more irritating than a project leader answering to an update in project progress with an excuse like "I have a team of home workers that are always slacking off"


RE: Weak management
By tng on 2/25/2013 1:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Home Office is not for every worker, or activity...
That is exactly it. There are days (very few) that I will work from home, and I feel kind of isolated from everything and that leads to distractions.

My co-workers and I tend to be a nosy lot and when we hear something over a cubicle wall we will offer advice or get advice offered. This also tends to lead to brainstorming sessions in front of a white board where designs often get finalized.

So yeah, depending on what you do, telecommuting can work, but I can see her point that there are some things you can just call in, so to speak.


RE: Weak management
By bsd228 on 2/25/2013 3:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
She and Yahoo are doing this because the status quo is not working for the company. Of their remote workers, there must be a significant number of dead weight types that are just collecting a paycheck. They will be eliminated. And next year, remote work will return because it does make sense.


Working Remotely is productive
By viperfl on 2/25/2013 11:43:00 AM , Rating: 1
I work for a company that advocated working from home. For myself, I was allowed to work from home 5 days a week because I worked the night shit. There was no one in the office the times that I worked so there was no benefit for me to be in the office. Now I have to be in the office 4 days a week and allowed to work from home on the 5th day. I was told people needed to see my face. During the time I come into the office, people see my face for about 30 minutes. During those 30 minutes they don't even pay attention to me.

I know a lot of people can't work from home but for those that can, it's a great morale booster. The people who goof off working from home would goof off if they are in the office.

Positives:

No rush hour commute, save gas, better on the environment
No distractions, more productive
Better life management
Better morale




RE: Working Remotely is productive
By Dorkyman on 2/25/2013 12:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
My wife's employer is going through some of these discussions right now.

I can see how working at home has benefits (I did it myself, working in sales for an employer 3,000 miles away for a while). But there are also needs for everyone to be in one place from time to time. It promotes the corporate culture, the feeling of "we're all in this boat together." And of course there are jobs that require constant contact with others within the company. The only question in my mind is what is the proper mix of both.

One exception I could see to the "shared experience" concept is if you're paid based on output and the job doesn't require much interaction with peers. I have a friend who does medical billing for a huge insurance company; she reads the doctor's diagnosis codes and decides what to pay. It's all straightforward and she works out of her home with two enormous LCD monitors and a broadband line.


By JackBurton on 2/25/2013 12:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
In your situation, I think working from home or the office wouldn't make a difference, but I'm sure that's not the types of positions Yahoo is targeting.

Also take into consideration, they probably are just enforcing a blanket rule to avoid the, "why does he get to work from home and I don't," questions.


I completely support her decision.
By JackBurton on 2/25/2013 12:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
Working from home typically means less collaboration and less interaction with your colleagues. You also normally have a huge productivity issue, as like others have said, because of the distractions at home. Some businesses I think it would be ok to do, but for Yahoo, I think they'd be MUCH more productive if everyone was actually IN the office.

In order to work and collaborate as a team, you need to be in the office for best results, IMO.




By rs2 on 2/25/2013 10:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
If that's what it means then you are doing it wrong. You aren't using the proper tools to facilitate collaboration, and you're extending the telecommuting privilege to people who aren't ready to have it.

Don't fault the concept because you executed it incorrectly.


By roastmules on 2/25/2013 1:27:45 PM , Rating: 2
I teleworked 1 day per week. I could schedule dr. appointments, oil changes, HVAC/plumber/cable tech visit, calls to dr./lawyer/credit card co/insurance co, webinars, document reviews, Windows updates, continuing ed, private/confidential phone calls, and email catch-up along with daily work.

Work-life balance was nice. 5 days a week in the office cube leaves no time for much of that. My cube is near the kitchen resulting in lots of noise and people walking by and saying hello. There is no chance of any kind of private phone call (work or personal), or even quiet. I get a lot less done, but the boss sees me here.




Memo for next week.
By Gunbuster on 2/25/2013 2:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
Marissa will be doing fecal analysis on all employees in the office. If she is not satisfied with their poop quality and consistency the employee will be escorted from the building.




I telecommute
By 195 on 2/25/2013 5:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
I telecommute full time. I work in IT for a Fortune 500 company and am one of the top people in my department. My performance evals have always been above par, and I consistently get rewarded for my good work.
The problem with working in the office for me is I get sucked in to meetings all day and constant "drive-by's" where I have to drop what I'm doing and work on something else. At home, I can hear myself think and not only do I get more work done, the quality of my work increases as well.
For the poster that said your phone is tied up, this is where I think Yahoo needs to improve. They should be working on ways to improve the communication and work life for the telecommuter rather than take it away. My job provides a Cisco voip softphone and a universal chat client with a buddy list for everyone on the team. I know who's available or not, and I can link up for a chat or video conference just as fast as if I'm in the office. Our team has become so efficient that most of the time nobody even knows who's located where. 90% of all communication is done over the internet so it doesn't matter where you are located.
As for my specific job duties, I manage all global officies so it is not relevant if I am located in an office or not.




On thing often overlooked
By GatoRat on 2/25/2013 9:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
in telecommuting and/or remote offices is the effect of hearing casual conversation in the main office. Granted, a lot of it is BS, but I'm surprised at how much information I pick up hearing someone a few cubicles over discussing an issue. I can't count the times it's helped me find or understand something I'm dealing with or even to understand better how the software works.

(I think outsiders would be astonished at how much work is done by engineers who have only a vague clue how the software they are developing actual works--not because they are dumb, but the software is often a very complicated beast that evolved over many years.)




Revised Version
By rs2 on 2/25/2013 9:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration is important, so we need to be working as a team. That is why it is critical that we all work hard for this company, regardless of where we are working from. Some of the best decisions and insights come from Skype chat and wiki discussions, video-calls with new team members, and impromptu Google Hangouts. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we forget to use collaborative tools such as chat, wikis, and video-conferencing frequently and intelligently. Doubly so when incompetent executives try to tell smart people where, when and how they should work. So I won't be doing that; no one ay Yahoo! will ever do that, that is my promise to you.

We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with communication, collaboration, and focusing on those problems that are truly important.


There, Ms. Mayer, I fixed it for you.




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