Yahoo Bans Telecommuting, Outrage Ensues
Marissa Mayer's new policy inspires a flurry of reactions
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2013 7:35 AM CST
This image released by NBC shows Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer appearing on NBC News' "Today" show, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 in New York.   (AP Photo/NBC Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire)

(Newser) – Marissa Mayer is making huge waves at Yahoo by banning telecommuting at the company—employees aren't happy, and most pundits are on their side. A sample of the reactions to Mayer's new policy, which AllThingsD revealed last week:

  • "Mayer is trying to put together a 21st century technology company using 19th century workplace mentalities," writes Steve Woods on Technorati. "Expect a wave of attrition at Yahoo!, as some of their most important employees are lured by forward-looking companies using cutting-edge technologies to build a close tribe across great distances."
  • But Mayer used to work at one of those companies—Google—and sources tell AllThingsD she was unhappy with Yahoo employees who were slow to arrive at work and quick to leave at 5pm. She tried to lure them back into the office with perks, meetings, and stricter performance reviews before resorting to this new policy. (An informal survey by AllThingsD finds that most other tech companies support telecommuting.)

  • As does Virgin. Airline chief Richard Branson weighs in on the controversy, calling the move "perplexing" and "a backwards step." He writes, "Working life isn't 9-5 any more. The world is connected. Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick."
  • But, though studies have found work-at-home employees to be more productive, they are also less innovative, one expert explains to the New York Times. "If you want innovation, then you need interaction. If you want productivity, then you want people working from home." And other big companies, including Bank of America and Zappos, have recently made their telecommuting policies stricter.
  • And at ZDNet, Andrew Nusca supports the move. After all, it "befits a chief executive hired with explicit orders to disrupt a company's stagnating culture," he writes. "Like many mature Internet companies, [Yahoo] has seen malaise set in as it maintains existing businesses, rather than pursuing new ones." This is a way to make the company, once again, "a place where the brightest minds on the Internet [convene] to create and innovate."

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Feb 26, 2013 7:04 PM CST
look at this dumb broad alienating all of the (brilliant) aspies who work in technology BECAUSE they can socialize less and work on their projects. they can apply their genius without the bother of water cooler gossip and other social tedium. it's a fact that autism/aspergers are prevalent in technology/science areas because those industries are are attractive to those types. she probably would have fired mark zuckerberg if he was lower on the totem pole--based on her lack of understanding--because he wasn't social enough. idiot. i love the fact that women are making great progress in society but i swear, i hate working for them. call me a traitor to my gender. i don't care. mayer is making all kinds of accommodations for women and speaking about their unique problems because that's what she understands, but she makes no consideration for aspies/autism types which mostly affects men and who also happen to make up a large percentage of her work force. that's awesome marissa had a perfect spoon-fed life. she's going to lose her awesome engineers to google/facebook/etc.
Feb 26, 2013 5:46 PM CST
The funny part is, if these people were any good at their jobs they would have developed a marketable product that would help people become more productive from home. Yahoo could have cashed in, instead of being seen as 21st century Luddites.
Feb 26, 2013 3:10 PM CST
..., if the attrition can hit the team working on yahoo! mail, then ok ...