Saturday, March 2, 2013

Say it isn't so: Yahoo Bans Telecommuting

Just as progress was finally being made for working parents, a major setback was announced from Yahoo's executive offices. Thousands of Yahoo employees walked through the company's doors one morning to discover they will no longer be allowed to work from home. The decision was made by CEO Marissa Mayer, who cited the need to encourage team work and foster communication. No word yet on how many of Yahoo's staff actually took advantage of the benefit.

Ms. Mayer came aboard Yahoo last year, after serving with Google as CEO. Her new appointment with Yahoo created quite the buzz, as analysts tried to predict whether she would succeed in turning the troubled search company around. Another point in interest is how Ms. Mayer would fare as a woman in a man's world.

From what I'm reading, the ban was applied because many employees were taking advantage. The only problem is that many parents rely on remote work to balance their professional and personal lives. Telecommuting has been placed on the forefront by advocates after research has shown it increases productivity and employee satisfaction.

While Mayer has been commended by some for making a 'tough' decision - their word, not mine - I will reserve my right to disagree. Applying such a indiscriminate decision on an entire workforce without taking certain circumstances into consideration is not strategic thinking.

Don't get me wrong, I am sincerely rooting for Ms. Mayer. If she can save Yahoo she will be raising women's credentials in the business world to a whole new stratosphere. But she has established a dangerous precedent because many companies may follow in Yahoo's example. Parents will have to once again choose between their careers or their families, especially mothers. A major setback indeed.

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