I suppose at this point I should say something about the extremely widely-read news that Yahoo! will continue to allow employees to occasionally show up late or stay early in order to attend to home life, while putting an end to regular, ongoing work-from-home arrangements.
Let me first say that an awful lot of the coverage seems to phrased as "Marissa Mayer bans working from home", not "Yahoo! CEO bans working from home", and I have to wonder if this would happen if the CEO were a man. The framing seems to imply that a female CEO should be more sensitive to work/family balance issues, but anyone who is working from home with children in the house either has a full-time nanny, a stay-at-home spouse who's minding the kids, or simply isn't productive.
The other is that the company's employees may be genuinely less productive when working from home. Protestations from folks like Farhad Manjoo and David Watkins aside, this is a situation where a large company like Yahoo! could easily gather the relevant data. Just track the rate of emails sent and source code commits on days spent WFH and compare that to the employees' productivity on those days versus a day in the office. Now, it's possible that Yahoo! doesn't have this data and this is all a backhanded way of laying people off, but several sources have leaked that the company does have an unusually high rate of working from home and that the WFHers seem to be less productive.
Last but not least, Mayer is a former executive at Google, a company that famously doesn't track sick time. If you get pneumonia or break your back or whatever, you stay home until you're better (I can't figure out if this time is paid or unpaid). Google also has similarly loose policies around working from home or from other offices, letting people take quasi-vacations by visiting their locations London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, etc. If a new CEO coming from that environment thinks people aren't getting enough done while working from home, then things are probably really bad.
I used to work in HR consulting, and I can tell you, Y! had a legendarily bad culture.
Instead of giving you personal examples, I'll point you to two facts: 1. How is it they have left a property like Flickr to languish for so long in the face of Instagram? And, 2. is there a single thing that Facebook offers today that Y! didn't offer . . . in 1999? Facebook integrated all of those things, but Y! had them, and slept on them until Meyers got there.
You bet people were abusing the WFH policy.
Mayer has some big changes in mind, that is certain. It can be easier to make those changes when you have all hands on deck.
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