CEO Marissa Mayer Banned Working from Home at Yahoo

Posted by Sabrina Sturm Tue, 23 Apr 2013 07:02:00 GMT

Last month, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned all employees from working at home via email and virtual private networks that securely logged into Yahoo's network. This new policy has certainly stirred the pot, not only at Yahoo but in the tech world.

Mayer is well-known for her data driven approach to all aspects of her job. As the former vice president of Google, one of her designers quit because he disliked how Mayer would choose design elements of Google’s homepage based on raw data rather than taste. Instead of considering color and font, Mayer would choose a particular design dependant on user interaction. If data revealed that Google.com was being used more quickly with one design, that design would rule out other design options.

Mayer’s of metrics and data is also what shaped her decision to ban working from home.

After weeks of commuting to work to find Yahoo’s parking lots empty and the lack of cubicle seats filled, Mayer decided to check VPN logs to see exactly what remote employees were doing. The results showed her that most employees were not logging in and Mayer’s decision was made—working from home was no longer an option and all employees must come into the office.

Only having taken the CEO position a few months prior to this decision, Mayer has received a lot of criticism for her decision to revoke VPN privileges from Yahoo employees. Technology entrepreneur, one-time boss of Steve Jobs and co-founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell stated, “A big rule like that is going to be horrible because she is going to cut off some wonderfully talented people” (via Upstart Business Journal). 

We, here at HOB, believe that remote access is not a privilege to be abused, as it seems like many Yahoo employees have done. However, remote access plays an integral role in the success of many businesses. It provides employees the opportunity to communicate with people they normally would not and makes the home-to-office connection seamless.

Working from home also has proven to be successful for many businesses. A 2012 study by Brown University, “Does Working from Home Work?,” states that working from home can increase worker performance by 12% and substantially increase job satisfaction. In addition, an infographic with compiled information from Stanford University states that 44% of employees claim working from home offers less distractions than working from the office, leading to more productivity. It is unknown why Yahoo’s employees did not experience these benefits, but that may be something Mayer should consider while implementing her new policy.

While Yahoo may experience some uproar in the wake of the new policy, requiring employees to physically work in the office may also have its benefits. In-person collaboration ignites innovative ideas and Mayer may be able to more closely monitor projects. We are interested in hearing how Mayer’s decision plays out.

What are your thoughts on Yahoo’s new working from home policy? Please share in the comments below.

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