Is Yahoo!’s ‘Come Home’ Policy Save the Buzz or a Buzz Killer?

Last week Marissa Mayer, new CEO of Yahoo!, issued a memo telling employees they aren’t to work from home anymore. Starting in June. Apparently a lot of Yahoo! employees are unhappy about it. So the confidential memo was forwarded to media. Often. (click here for the memo at AllThingsD.)

Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo Huffington Post

According to David Heinemeier Hansson, partner at 37 Signals, in No more remote work at Yahoo:

What this reveals more than anything is that Yahoo management doesn’t have a clue as to who’s actually productive and who’s not.

Sad. Yahoo ruled the web-search world in the middle 1990s, in the days before Google. It’s been through a lot. And Marissa Mayer has a great track record in the industry. And maybe she needs to pull things back together. But is this one going to work?

The memo proclaims the reasons for keeping together:

From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices. To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.

But this is 2013. The world is flat. Productivity isn’t a matter of keeping seats warm. Productivity needs leadership, motivation, metrics, accountability, and — especially as companies grow — management. Managing expectations and feedback.

The buzz that followed the memo was far from the energy and buzz in Yahoo! offices. It was much more the buzz from disgruntled employees. Kara Swisher reported in her piece in AllThingsD:

The tone and tactics have infuriated some at the company. Wrote one impacted Yahoo employee to me: ‘Even if that was what was previously agreed to with managers and HR, or was a part of the package to take a position, tough … It’s outrageous and a morale killer.’

This reminds methat larger companies struggle with structure and the management they require. I’m glad the business world is splintering into smaller units, much more individuals, much more freedom. What do you think?


  • An Open Letter to Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! | It's All Virtual says:

    […] and discussion. Some are in your camp, while others disagree with you. Image courtesy of Planning Startup Stories and Huffington […]

  • Bob Olsen says:

    The bottom line is Yahoo has been failing and failing for some time. Simply, if something does not change, no one at Yahoo will have a job. There has been a revolving door of unsuccessful CEOs who have been bringing Yahoo ever closer to total failure.

    I have been an employee of large/small corporations. I have telecommuted and I have filled an office desk. To be honest, I love the freedom of working at home and yet I know I consistently missed out on the important nuances of directly working with a team. I know my deliverables were good, yet if I am honest with myself they could have been better and more polished with input from my co-workers (it is the subtle give and take that can only be found in an office environment.)

    If I was one of Yahoo’s telecommuting employees, especially I did no live close to one of their offices I would be upset. On the flip side it would not take me long see that if I like working for and to want to stay part of Yahoo, I need to be part of the solution or quit.

    We all know the culture within a company starts at the top. This ex-Google employee sees that the Yahoo culture needs to change if it is going to survive. Google created a model that has brought amazing success. It is this model that left Yahoo in the dust. Now Yahoo has an opportunity to learn for the company that beat them; to learn from a new leader with insider knowledge and insights.

  • Clint Wilson says:

    Regardless if you are in an office or around the globe working for a company it is the ability to communicate effectively as a team that matters.

    Yahoo tried this back a few years ago with the ultimate effect of losing many good people including their Yahoo Finance guru. She is doing nothing new but creating a sound bite and bad one at that:)


  • Stephen Lahey says:

    Yahoo continues to lose good employees to their competition. This isn’t helping.

  • Jeff Robinson says:

    Great news in my opinion – Enough of the “hoody” culture. Time for entrepreneurs and their teams to get back to the basics of working as teams in offices wearing appropriate office attire.

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