“Some of the best decisions and insights come
from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team
meetings,” says Reses in her now infamous memo.
Yahoo’s thinking is that these conversations are
essential not only to the company’s growth and productivity (currently far
outranked by Mayer’s former employer, Google) but also to Yahoo’s company culture,
which, judging by the suspiciously
upbeat nature of Reses’s memo, is seriously lacking.
Employee backlash is mounting, with some
publications already reporting the only employees who choose to stay will be
employees that cannot find a more flexible employer elsewhere.
If the ability to telecommute was part of the
employment package, it follows that Yahoo is set to lose a substantial amount
of talent. Why the resistance? A recent study showed that employees who
occasionally work outside the office find their job considerably more
satisfying and enjoy
better relationships with family members. Another study indicated a 13%
productivity increase in employees who work from home.
Telecommuters tend to be less stressed when the
pressure of commuting is removed. 37signals founders Fried and Hansson also point out in Rework the when
the issue of geography is removed, companies gain access to a much wider talent
pool to draw from. What’s not to love?
The Real Issue
The practice of telecommuting is relatively new.
Aetna may provide internet connections, phone lines, shredders and secure
lockers to all of its telecommuting employees but that doesn’t mean all the
kinks have been worked out.
People crave human connection both in and out of
the office. We need others to bounce our ideas off. Working from home may be an
enticing prospect for those who spend hours in traffic each morning and
evening, but it isn’t necessarily a blanket solution. Working alone is not ideal.
Surely there is some happy medium available to
disgruntled, soon-to-be-former employees of Yahoo. Many freelancers and small
businesses have solved the working-from-home problem by working together in
groups at cafes or communal offices. (Toronto’s Centre for Social
Innovation is a shining example.) Shorter commute,
office camaraderie and no unnecessary last-minute meetings. Everybody wins.
Let's remember that like every family, every company is different. Yahoo is widely considered a company with some amazing assets that has underperformed since it first bloomed of success. Marissa Mayer was brought in less than a year ago to take control. If SHE feels that closer collaboration is part of the culture that will once again let Yahoo reach new heights, she should be able to do that. If the Yahoo's who loved working remotely so much had been creating take-the-world-by-storm products this whole time, maybe this wouldn't be the hottest topic on the internet this week.
Amy Knapp for InsideTrak
More than 2,300 organizations use PayScale's subscription software to:
- Allocate raises. PayScale Insight allows you to allocate raises based on employee performance and labor budget.
- Attract talent. Price jobs based on your local market and competition.
- Retain employees. Get pay right and show them how you did it. Your employees will be more satisfied to stay.
- Drive performance. Get their salary right so they can focus on doing a good job.
- Be confident. With know-how to talk about comp with anyone.
What are you waiting for?