Yahoo! cuts work-from-home

February 27, 2013 2:33:12 PM PST
Yahoo's trailblazing CEO recently dropped a bombshell on her employees, shaking up the internet search giant's culture. Employees working at home will now have to come into the office or quit.

Marissa Mayer, named one of Fortune Magazine's most powerful women, says she has to ruthlessly prioritize.

"For me it's God, family and Yahoo! in that order," she says.

Mayer who famously - or infamously- depending on who you ask - returned to work two weeks after giving birth, is shaking up the debate over work- life balance issues. In a memo, first obtained by the tech blog All Things D, Yahoo!'s human resources director outlines a new policy - no more working from home.

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.... That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices."

Workers currently telecommuting have until June to either get comfy working out of the office or leave. Yahoo!'s new policy was ripped by some commentators. Richard Branson - CEO of Virgin said the decision seems backwards at a time when remote working is easier and more effective than ever, adding "Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will."

Blogger Lisa Belkin writing for The Huffington Post sees it as a direct dig against working parents: "I think it's backwards, I think it's the direct opposite of what she should have done."

CEO Eric Holtzclaw of marketing company Laddering Works says not only does he let his employees work from home, he logs time away from the office as well.

"I am always more efficient when I work from home, and working from home or working from a third location, so I do a lot of writing and I think that if you work in a coffee shop, and some of those kind of places you'll get more inspiration."

Mayer is bucking the trend: 9.5% of workers worked from home at least one day a week in 2010. That's up from 7% in 1997. But Mayer's decision doesn't come out of the blue. She came from Google, a company that likes the collaborative atmosphere when workers have face-to-face time and she is in the middle of a turnaround for Yahoo!. The website Business Insider did talk to some Yahoo! employees and not all of them are upset.

"It was getting way too lenient and people weren't using their best judgment, necessarily, with working from home versus working in the office, to the point that some of them didn't even realize their colleagues still worked for Yahoo! They were coming in so infrequently or not at all."