The now infamous Yahoo! letter to staff is a hot topic this week. If you don’t live under a proverbial rock, then you know its CEO, Marissa Mayer, banned telecommuting across the board.
Since the news broke, there have been many reactions. From a heated debate on the Today’s Professionals segment on the Today Show, to TIME magazine calling it “the memo read round the world,” to The Atlantic’s “Chill Out” response, the reactions have been all over the board. I also loved Gini Dietrich’s take on it in this post on her Spin Sucks blog, rewriting the original memo to be more empathetic and less of a cold and heartless edict (which IMHO it clearly was!).
What was so interesting is the wide range of reactions. Some said it represents a step (or 20 steps, or 100 steps) backward for working women everywhere. It’s another sign that the glass ceiling will not soon be broken. On the other hand, there have been the supporters saying she’s a CEO who is charged with the company’s success and she’s doing what she feels is the best thing to do for the good of the company. Still others thing it is just a way to weed out the deadwood for an upcoming mass layoff.
While we will never know what was in the mind of Mayer for implementing this huge change, one thing is for sure. If Mayer wanted to bring attention to Yahoo!, then she’s succeeded. Who said “There’s no such thing as bad press?”
Now frankly, I don’t care what Yahoo! has in place for its staff policies. I have no plans on relocating across the country to work for a tech company in the Silicon Valley. As a telecommuter myself, however, I was definitely paying close attention to the scuttlebut on this one. If Yahoo! can do this, then will other companies begin to follow suit? More watercooler meetings and less conference calls in pajamas? Can the past be rearing its ugly head and bringing cube farms back in vogue? Oh say it ain’t so!
I definitely sympathize with those people whose lives are about to change drastically. After telecommuting, I don’t think I could possibly go back to working in a cubicle. I know my company definitely benefits from my own telecommuting. Yoga pants and bad hair days aside, I work many more hours, I’m much more focused and I’m completely more productive thanks to a lack of interruptions all day long. On top of that, I don’t have firewall issues to contend with during the day either. All this adds up to an amazing amount of work being pulled off on a daily basis. Besides the benefits to the company, I’m happier and less stressed. Isn’t that what every company should be hoping for with their own staff?
So I ask you, what would you do if your company suddent banned telecommuting – would you stay or jump ship?