Marissa Mayer Addresses the WFH Elephant in the Room

Until last week, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has maintained silence on the company’s “return to work” policy. But last Thursday, during the closing keynote at the Great Place to Work conference, Mayer finally explained why her company canceled its employees’ work-from-home option — and why their decision shouldn’t be perceived as a shift for the tech industry.

“It’s not what’s right for Yahoo right now,” she said, after displaying a slide with a big purple elephant emblazoned with the letters WFH. “It was wrongly perceived as an industry narrative.”

The fact remains, however, that only a week after Yahoo’s memo leaked to the press, Best Buy made a similar decision about its workforce, and the media teemed with responses on both sides of the issue. A person with a work-from-home job would have been justified in fearing that their gig was about to change, no matter what Yahoo’s intentions were.

And, of course, there’s always the ongoing debate about whether or not working from home is as good for the company as it is for employees who prefer to work in their pajamas.

Mayer, for her part, claims that “people are more productive when they’re alone … but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”

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